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Representatives of the Tourism award winners include, from left: Nick Weinhandl, Ryan “Dirty” Nitschke, and Karen Stoker, all Hotel Donaldson; Jayne Rieth, Fargo-Moorhead CVB; Troy White, Bonanzaville; Chaun Merkens, Big Iron; Lisa Tate, Red River Zoo; Bryan Schultz, Big Iron/Red River Fair; and Sam Bruers, Red River Zoo. Submitted photo

Rieth receives travel ambassador honors

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Longtime West Fargo resident Jayne Rieth was among nine outstanding leaders in the North Dakota tourism industry honored at the North Dakota Governor's Awards Luncheon held on April 17 in conjunction with the North Dakota Travel Industry Conference in Grand Forks.

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In addition to Rieth, who was recognized as the front-line tourism employee of the year as a travel ambassador at the Fargo Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau, several other leaders from the metro area also earned kudos: The HoDo Restaurant in the Hotel Donaldson, Fargo, was awarded the AAA Four Diamond Rating, the first such ranking for a restaurant in the Dakotas; the Red River Zoo was named tourist attraction of the year; the Big Iron Farm Show, the event of the year; and Troy White of Bonanzaville was honored as a travel and tourism industry leader.

Jayne Rieth pictured with her tourism award. Submitted photo

Reith has been employed at the FMCVB for six years; prior to that she was involved in advertising sales at the West Fargo Pioneer for many years. She and her husband, Rod, have lived in West Fargo since 1967. They have three grown children and three grandchildren.

As a travel ambassador, Rieth is the first person you see when you walk in the FMCVB door. She takes great delight in that fact and in her role of promoting the Fargo Moorhead area by informing visitors about what is going on. "We tell them about all the tourist attractions so they can enjoy their stay," Rieth stated, "and if they happen to be passing through the city, we really, really like to keep them in North Dakota and Minnesota, so we tell them what is going on in each direction."

Rieth, who was nominated for the front-line tourism honor by her peers at the FMCVB, said she didn't have a clue it was coming.

Her husband and son, Chad, and daughter, Jodee, played into the surprise at the Grand Forks ceremony, by welcoming her as she stepped down from the stage after accepting the award.

"I had no idea that I would be receiving anything and no idea they were going to be there," Reith stated. "It was all such a huge surprise and I was very humbled because I love my job and I love North Dakota and Minnesota. I've learned so much since I've been at the CVB you can't even imagine. I get to visit with people from all over the world so I learn something new every single time I am there and it really is a wonderful thing. I look forward to coming to work just to see what new thing is going to happen. I also truly enjoy all the great people I work with and I want to thank them for believing that I deserved such a wonderful honor."

Always a consummate professional with a smile on her face and joke in her heart, Rieth said the FMCVB acquired wood chipper from the movie "Fargo" has brought in so much traffic it's almost unbelievable, adding she always "has a blast" joking about the conversation piece with visitors.

All in all, she said, "I just cannot imagine not having this job. It has taught me so much about this state and I love sharing that information with others. And, isn't it just amazing to receive an award for something that you love so much?"

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