Over the past year, the Natrona County Travel and Tourism Council  awarded $164,000 in grants to support events that bring overnight visitors to Casper.

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Visit Casper averages around $100,000 in grants given out each year, according to Tia Troy, public relations officer for Visit Casper.

Brook Kaufman, CEO of Visit Casper, said:

“Last year was tough for many, including the travel and tourism industry. And while our budgets were tightened as a result, we know that supporting events will help our tourism economy recover, which is important to our community.”

Grant funds were awarded to 14 different organizations:

  • Special Olympics Fall Tournament: $2,000
  • Wyoming Coaches Association: $3,500
  • Proud to Host the Best: $30,000
  • Downtown Casper Business Association: $1,000
  • East Casper Volleyball Club: $2,000
  • Casper Soccer Club: $5,500
  • Downtown Development Authority: $28,000
  • Casper Amateur Hockey Club: $500
  • Oil Capitol Auto Club: $500
  • Casper Recreational Leagues Association: $6,500
  • College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR): $35,000
  • Central Wyoming Fair and Rodeo: $30,000
  • Wyoming Amateur Wrestling Association: $12,000
  • Amusement Music Operators of Wyoming: $7,500

Jen Haines, president of Special Olympics of Wyoming, said the money they are getting from Visit Casper will go towards their annual tournament in October, where around 600 athletes compete.

Haines said they were approved for the money but will not receive it until after the event is over, but that it will be helpful in making sure they are able to book hotels and reserve venues.

Wendy Brown, executive director of the Casper Soccer Club, said the grant money they got will be used for the Fall Classic that the club hosts in September.

Brown said the funding they receive is very helpful towards hosting the event, which brings in around 124 teams of 13 people each from across the state and beyond.

Angela Berry, marketing director for the Central Wyoming Fair and Rodeo, said the money they get from Visit Casper is part of a partnership between the two organizations, which was started around five years ago.

Berry said the money is used to fund the rodeos they host and the advertising they put out for the events.

There are several criteria for groups to get grant funds, including how long people stay at Natrona County hotels, when the event is and its impact.

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