[Contributed by Guest Author Laura Girty]
Land Run 2006
Yes, that’s the Land Run 2006! And some might say it was just as exciting as the ones held one hundred years ago.
A few years ago citizens in several Northwest communities started meeting together to discuss what they could do as a region towards economic development, to impact political issues affecting them, and to address issues and needs that were common among the area. They joined together forming the Northwest Oklahoma Alliance (NWOA), which now includes a16-county membership.
Through membership dues and an Oklahoma Department of Commerce grant the organization was able to move towards its’ stated purpose: “To create a new regional initiative designed to promote, develop, and identify potential economic opportunities for Northwest Oklahoma.
With several successful projects, workshops and events under their belt and membership steadily growing, the Alliance determined to try its biggest event yet, The Land Run 2006 Tour. The Land Run Tour was planned to promote the area’s low cost of living, strong work ethic and pro-business environment to locators and re-locating or expanding business owners.
The Land Run 2006 was held the first week of October. The week long whirlwind tour started with a great Oklahoma welcome party and then with introductions the next day to the services and programs of many state agencies, including the Oklahoma Department of Commerce and Career Tech.
Participating Alliance towns in the Land Run Tour were Okarche, Enid, Fairview, Cherokee, Alva, Freedom, Buffalo, Waynoka, Thomas, Clinton, Elk City, Shattuck, Guymon and Goodwell.
Traveling on a generously donated Oklahoma State University bus, the guests were able to view DVD’s of each area or community as they traveled to the next site. The DVD production was donated by Western Farmers Electric Cooperative and Touchstone Energy. For more information about Touchstone Energy or to find a member cooperative near you see:
Other sponsors included the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, Department of Agriculture, Pioneer Telephone Cooperative, Oklahoma Career Tech, Oklahoma State University, REI, Inc., Operation Round Up, Schroeder’s, Cargill Salt, Oklahoma Farm Credit, Oklahoma Farmers Union and Oklahoma Natural Gas.
The guests toured industrial parks, sites and certified incubators. They toured manufacturing facilities and other successful Northwest Oklahoma businesses. In between they received a taste of the amazing Oklahoma culture and character that makes each community unique with everything from a German restaurant meal, western themed outdoor breakfast and gunfight, jazz quartet and classical pianist, folklorica dancers, Made in Oklahoma agritourism presentation of wine, cheese, pickles and much, much more!
Just as the original land run ended with the participants beginning to make improvements to their claims and knowing it would take time to reap the results, the Land Run 2006 communities are just beginning to see what their efforts might reap. But the relationships built with the guests, the cooperation and relationships forged among the communities and even the involvement of many state agencies and state and federal legislators have already proven to be a high reward for the months of planning and work. As claimed in the opening paragraph, many would say that Land Run 2006 has been as exciting for Northwest Oklahoma as the original land run!
To join the Northwest Oklahoma Alliance or for more information about it’s programs, see their website:
Guests were informed as part of their invitation about available buildings and sites in the area through Sites Across America by Touchstone Energy. For more information see:
For more about this and other regional partnerships see the Oklahoma Department of commerce website at
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.