Nevada tourism industry partners recognized at Travel Nevada Rural Roundup Conference

MESQUITE, NV – The Nevada Division of Tourism (Travel Nevada) honored rural Nevada’s top tourism supporters for their dedication to the state’s tourism industry at the Excellence in Tourism Awards dinner at the 30th annual Rural Roundup conference held April 12, 2023 at Eureka Casino Resort in Mesquite.

Seven awards were announced, one from each of the state’s tourism territories, as well as the Larry J. Friedman Industry Partner of the Year. 

“It is my privilege to recognize these esteemed tourism professionals and honor them with these awards,” said Brenda Scolari, Director, Department of Tourism & Cultural Affairs. “Nevada’s tourism industry is stronger than ever, and the efforts this group has contributed to the state is remarkable. We thank them for their dedication to the industry and all partners for their ongoing collaboration and support.”

Those recognized included:

Excellence in Tourism Award Winners

Cowboy Country Territory

Paula Tomera executive director of the Lander County Convention & Tourism Authority, has been promoting tourism throughout Cowboy Country and the State of Nevada for several years. She has worked various consumer shows to introduce Lander Country to potential visitors and share information about the territory.

Pony Express Territory

Candy Dolan has worked at the Fallon Convention Center for 25 years and has been involved with the territory during most of that time. Candy is an integral part of helping the team succeed in promoting Highway 50 and distributing information to the community and its partners.

Reno Tahoe Territory (RTT)

Jan Vandermade has led the Carson Valley Visitors Authority since July 2016. In this capacity, he is responsible for the development and execution of the long-term vision and annual business development plan for the Carson Valley area. He has served as RTTs representative to the Reno Air Service Committee and was instrumental as the chair of RTTs communications committee to navigate the territory through complexities during the pandemic.

Las Vegas Territory

Raul De La Cruz has over 15 years of sales and marketing experience, focusing on showcasing the many products of Las Vegas and its surrounding rural communities. In addition, he has become well versed with the international marketplaces, most specifically Mexico, Canada, as well as Central and South America, helping to open the door for many first time visitors traveling to Southern Nevada.

Nevada Silver Trails Territory

Kat Galli has been dedicated to helping the territory promote their destinations, attractions, and marketing organizations over a number of years. She has shown tremendous dedication and commitment to tourism in rural Nevada and understands the importance of ensuring small businesses thrive in local communities.

Nevada Indian Territory

Larry Burton has been an active Nevada Indian Territory member for over 10 years and is being recognized this year for his Great Basin outdoor photography and contribution to the territory’s website, downloadable brochure, and marketing graphics.  

Larry J. Friedman Industry Partner of the Year Award Winner

Sheree Tibbals spent 28 years at the Winnemucca Events Complex. As the Fairground’s Operation Supervisor, Sheree was instrumental in designing and producing advertising for special events. For the last 20 years, she has held the treasurer position for Cowboy Country Territory to help promote northern Nevada communities from Lovelock to Wendover.

Hosted by Travel Nevada, the state agency charged with promoting tourism of the Silver State, Rural Roundup is an annual conference for Nevada’s tourism industry. The event includes speakers and panel discussions, training workshops, and networking opportunities with a goal to help Nevada’s rural communities develop and market themselves as destinations, resulting in increased visitation, developing local economies, and strengthening Nevada’s position in the tourism market. 

Rural Roundup is set to return in 2024 in Lake Tahoe.

EDITORS: for high-resolution images of the award winners, visit here.


The Nevada Division of Tourism is a division of the Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs. More commonly known as Travel Nevada, the Nevada Division of Tourism is responsible for promoting and marketing Nevada as a travel destination to domestic and international travelers. Operating within a performance-based budget structure, Travel Nevada is funded solely by a percentage of lodging tax paid by overnight guests throughout the state. For more, visit