McCook really is a 'hot spot'

Thursday, July 15, 2004

It's not a rumor. It's the truth. Temperatures are higher in Southwest Nebraska -- particularly McCook -- than they are in other parts of Nebraska. It's the result of a long-established weather pattern, with a stretch of mid-America -- running from Wichita, Kan. to Casper, Wyo. -- producing more days of sunshine than any section of America except Death Valley in California.

The heat is usually a good thing. While other parts of Nebraska are cooler -- if not downright cold -- McCook area residents are enjoying warmer, more pleasant days. Not only do hometown residents realize that temperatures are higher here, but so do our neighbors in Nebraska and Kansas because of nightly weather reports, showing McCook with the state high.

And, so, when it came time to suggest a slogan, Harold Clapp of 806 West 13th had one in mind: "McCook: Nebraska's Hot Spot."

The more the slogan selectors thought about it, the more they liked Harold's idea. "First, it's simple and to the point, and recognizes the fact that temperatures in this area are typically pretty warm," said Dan Stramel, a member of the Red Willow County Visitors Committee. "Second, it points out that McCook is a great place to be, a 'hot spot,' and, third, it recognizes that there's a lot of interesting issues here, with many 'hot topics' to talk about."

The Visitors Committee is going to go all-out in promoting the slogan. They have printed up sample caps and T-shirts and are working on plans for entrance signs into town. They'll go up in place of the "McCook: The American Experience" signs which have been up for several years.

McCook has had a number of slogans over the years, starting with "The Magic City" in the early days, to "The OK City" in the 1960s and the "It's All Here" slogan of the 1970s.

Now, thanks to the lodging tax, a small fee collected by McCook motels, the Visitors Committee has between $35,000 and $65,000 a year to spend to promote tourism. Funds are earmarked for activities that bring people to town from out of the area: things like the Balloon Blast, the "Play the West" golf package, brochures, the visitors packet distributed by the Chamber of Commerce and advertising in travel publications.

Tourism promotion is handled by the Red Willow County Visitors Committee, composed of Carol Schlegel, the chairperson, and Dan Stramel, Perry Strombeck, Doug Vap and Rebecca Vosburg.

Yes, McCook truly is Nebraska's "Hot Spot." And, thanks to Harold Clapp and the Red Willow County Visitors Committee, it's going to keep sizzling as a tourist destination in the years to come.

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