That announcement was made Tuesday afternoon in Seattle, Wash., which culminated the Best of the Road summertime campaign sponsored by Rand McNally and USA TODAY.
How the contest worked
In a nutshell, Americans were asked to nominate cities with populations fewer than 150,000 as Friendliest, Most Patriotic, Most Beautiful, Most Fun, or Best for Food. Top six vote-getters in each category were finalists, and a separate two-person team was assigned to each category.
For College Station and five other friendliest finalist cities — Murray, Ky.; Joplin, Mo; Frisco, Texas; Cloudcroft, NM; and San Luis Obispo, Calif. — Jennifer Jordon and Bob Schatz III, also known as The Rogue Riders, were judges and VIPs.
Preparing for our visitors
Once we were alerted when the duo would hit town, a tentative schedule of activities was quickly assembled to give Jennifer and Bob a flavor of the friendliness College Station offers. In the end, they may have suffered “howdy overload,” but the greetings and hospitality they received here were genuine and heartfelt by all involved. Some special thanks are in order:
- Bryan-College Station Convention & Visitors Bureau
- Bryan-College Station Chamber of Commerce
- City of College Station Parks & Recreation Department
- George Bush Presidential Library and Museum
- Texas A&M University
- Texas Engineering Extension Service
- Texas World Speedway
- The Republic
- Benjamin Knox Wine Depot
- Cake Junkie
- Chef Tai’s Mobile Bistro
- Frost Bites Shaved Ice
- Hullabaloo Diner
- CC Creations
- 98.3 KORA-FM and ROCK 103.9 FM
- The Dixie Chicken, Dry Bean Saloon and Social
- Brazos Valley Veterans Memorial Board
- C&J Barbecue
- Still Creek Children’s Ranch
- Lil’ Wranglers and Aggie Elites
A very large, silver lining
Even though College Station didn’t win the competition, we’re already winners: The amount of national exposure and goodwill produced from the contest was massive. College Station has been mentioned multiple times by USA TODAY and other publications following the road trip; film crews from The Travel Channel and Best of the Road followed Jennifer and Bob while they were here, and have produced and released some excellent videos of College Station; and The Rogue Riders themselves have posted videos about their time here. The Travel Channel will air a recap of the entire Best of the Road tour at 7 p.m. on July 25.
Combine that with everyone’s blog entries and other social media activity, and there undoubtedly are many people who are learning about College Station for the first time, and for the right reason. That benefits our shops, restaurants, hotels and overall reputation at a time when a lot of SEC fans may be deciding whether or not a road trip to Aggieland is in order.
To give you an idea of how the Best of the Road crew and The Rogue Riders experienced College Station, sample the video and photo links below.
- Best of the Road RV Crew: Rogue Riders Visit College Station, TX
- Rogue Riders: College Station, Day 1
- Rogue Riders: Voices of College Station
- Rogue Riders: TEEX College Station
- Rogue Riders in College Station slideshow
Special thanks to City of College Station Marketing Coordinator Lacey Lively and Multimedia Coordinator Mike Neu, who did everything from leading the charge that made College Station a finalist city in the first place, to making sure Jennifer, Bob and the video crew had a terrific time. And thanks to Mayor Nancy Berry for taking some extra time to spend with The Rogue Riders at several of their stops.
Director | Public Communications