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Big Iron Farm Show recipient of Tourism's Event of the Year

Accepting the tourism award on behalf of the Big Iron Farm Show are Chaun Merkens, Big Iron coordinator and Bryan Schulz, general manager. Submitted photo

Gov. Jack Dalrymple and North Dakota Department of Commerce Tourism Division Director Sara Otte Coleman announced this year's recipients of the Governor's Travel and Tourism Awards in a ceremony in Grand Forks on April 17.

"As one of North Dakota's largest industries, tourism is an important contributor to our growing economy," Gov. Dalrymple said. "These leaders represent the outstanding work that is going on in communities across our state to promote North Dakota's legendary tourism offerings and to continue to make the state's tourism industry one of the fastest growing in the nation. Congratulations to this year's award recipients, and thank you for all you do for North Dakota."

The Big Iron Farm Show, a subsidiary of the Red River Valley Fair Association, was honored as the North Dakota Travel and Tourism Event of the Year:

In 1980, a farm equipment show took root in Casselton with the idea of showcasing the latest in "Big Iron." One year later, with a successful inaugural event behind them, Big Iron organizers moved the event to the spacious Red River Valley Fairgrounds. Since then, the event has grown each year from a farm equipment show to an annual three-day celebration of rural living, agribusiness, health, innovation and technology.

The Big Iron Farm Show is the must-see agricultural exhibition for farm operators who are interested in the latest technologies for large-scale agriculture production. In 2012, more than 80,000 attendees came from across the nation and several countries to see demonstrations, visit 900-plus exhibitors, connect with their peers and attend training sessions. In 2007, the North Dakota Trade Office began hosting international buyers during the Big Iron Farm Show. Since the inception of the Big Iron International Visitors Program, the event has hosted more than 600 international visitors from more than 25 countries.

The annual event is planned and organized by staff and a volunteer committee of six individuals involved in various aspects of agribusiness, ranging from farming, ranching, sales, banking and manufacturing.

"Chaun Merkens, our Big Iron Coordinator, along with our other dedicated staff are passionate about bringing a top notch event to our region. We are proud of the tradition this event holds in the Red River Valley. We are grateful to the N.D. Tourism Department and the Department of Commerce for recognizing our efforts," stated Red River Valley Fair General Manager Bryan Schulz.