Tour duh Sunken Lands wins tourism award

Sunday, March 6, 2016
The Sunken Lands Chamber's Tour duh Sunken Lands won the Bootstrap Award from Arkansas Delta Byways. Pictured, from left, are: Marcel Hanzlik (ADB President), Larry Sims, Mary Slack, Lavonne Gilmore, Claude Gilmore, Patsy McClain, Linda Hinton, and Charles Glover. (Photo provided)

The 16th annual Delta Awards, recognizing tourism achievement in Eastern Arkansas, were presented last Friday during festivities at the Brinkley Convention Center. The Tour duh Sunken Lands, a cultural bike ride that brings participants to several attractions in Poinsett and Mississippi Counties each year, won the Boot Strap award.

Put on in November by the Sunken Lands Chamber of Commerce, the Tour duh Sunken Lands is an annual 52-mile touring/cycling event highlighting cultural sites in the Sunken Lands in Northeast Arkansas. Stops include the Southern Tenant Farmers Museum at Tyronza, Dyess Colony Museum and Johnny Cash Boyhood Home at Dyess, Rivervale Tunnels, the Painted House at Lepanto, and the Marked Tree Delta Area Museum with an after-ride meal at Tyboogie's Cafe at Tyronza. Hot soup is served at the Painted House, and drinks and snacks are served at all other stops. The chamber began the bike ride in 2009 as a way to include the Sunken Lands' many cultural sites in a yearly event.

"It was such an honor for the Tour duh Sunken Lands to win this award," said Sunken Lands chamber member Linda Hinton. "This ride has grown over the past seven years, and it is because of the wonderful workers and volunteers. We have had riders from Arkansas, Tennessee, Illinois, Mississippi, Texas, Pennsylvania, and Missouri. The Sunken Land Regional Chamber members have created this touring ride as a way to focus on our local cultural heritage as well as giving the riders a good dose of Delta hospitality!"

This year's ride will be on Saturday, Nov. 5. For more information about registering for the ride, visit www.facebook.com/tourduhsunkenlands or www.sunkenlands.com.

Kane Webb, the new director of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, and Stacy Hurst, director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, were guest speakers during the D. Marcel Hanzlik, president of Arkansas Delta Byways, served as master of ceremonies during the awards ceremony.

Arkansas Delta Byways presented the Tourism Person of the Year award to Terry Eastin of Fayetteville and the Outstanding Member Award to Kristine Puckett of Little Rock.

The winners of the various tourism awards were:

*Media Support Award: Dr. Blake Wintory, Images of Chicot County, Chicot County.

*Hospitality Award: Cottage Mall, Beth Traylor Taylor, Monroe County.

*Entrepreneur Award: Handworks, Cathy Campbell, Phillips County.

*Tourism/Promotion Support Award: Pumpkin Hollow, Clay County.

*Festival/Event of the Year Award: Bicentennial of the Louisiana Purchase Land Survey, Lee, Monroe and Phillips Counties.

*Boot Strap Award: Tour duh Sunken Lands, Poinsett and Mississippi Counties.

*Cultural Heritage Award: Grand Prairie Center Performance Series, Arkansas County.

The event was sponsored by Arkansas Delta Byways with support from local businesses in Brinkley and Clarendon.

Arkansas Delta Byways is the nonprofit association recognized by the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism as the official tourism promotion association for 15 counties in Eastern Arkansas. The counties are Arkansas, Chicot, Clay, Craighead, Crittenden, Cross, Desha, Drew, Greene, Lee, Mississippi, Monroe, Phillips, Poinsett and St. Francis.

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