Since 1977 The Wyoming Lodging and Restaurant Association (WLRA) has proudly awarded The Big Wyo Award to a private sector individual/s who has done an outstanding job promoting and improving the tourism industry for the State of Wyoming. This exceptional award is presented at the Salute to the Industry Gala which follows the annual Governor’s Tourism & Hospitality Conference.

Nominee Criteria

  • The individual has made major contributions to generating visitors, servicing and developing the travel industry in the state of Wyoming.
  • These efforts can take place through their business or as a volunteer in travel-related organizations.
  • The person has been a member and served actively on civic, community or travel industry association groups.
  • There have been exceptions, but usually, the individual is not an elected official or travel industry public employee at the time of consideration. It is preferable that they not be currently serving on state boards and commissions.

Congratulations to the 2022 BIG WYO Award Winner Renee Penton-Jones!

Renee is a Casper, WY native who began her hospitality career in 1992 and never looked back. She has served as the Chairwoman of the Visit Casper Board, has served on the Wyoming Tourism Board and is the current WLRA President.  Renee is based at the Ramkota Hotel in Casper, and she excels as the Regional Director of Operations for Regency Hotel Management.

What stand out most about Renee is her unwavering dedication to protecting and growing Wyoming’s hospitality and tourism industry.  At every opportunity, she engages at the local, state and federal level to ensure a prosperous climate for our industry to thrive in.

As the WLRA and WTIC finalize our merge into one unified, powerful new association we are proud and fortunate to have Renee at the helm, continuing her leadership as President.

Please join us in congratulation Renee Penton-Jones on this well-deserved award! 

We appreciate you so much Renee! Thank you so much for all that you do!

1970’s1980’s1990’s 2000’s 2010’s2020’s
1977 Harry Smith 1980 Duane Von Krosigk 1990 Pat Self 2000 Trudy McCraken 2010 Gov. Dave Freudenthal2020 Darren Rudloff
1978 Marv Harshman1981 Peter Hassrick1991 Paul Smith2001 Gene & Carol Kupke2011 Steve Meadows2021 No Recipient (Conference Cancelled-Coronavirus)
1979 Bob Dohse1982 Ralph McMullen1992 Pat Sweeney2002 Ted Blair2012 Rex Brown2022 Renee Penton Jones
1983 Norm Parker1993 Jim Hearne2003 Jeff Heilbrun2013 Chuck Coon
1984 Dorris Stalker1994 Carol Waller2004 Edna Kennell2014 Kari Cooper
1985 Bill Bragg1995 Clay James2005 Manuel Lopez2015 Clay Miller
1986 Gov. Ed Hershler1996 Don & Doris Bunn2006 Claudia Wade2016 Jerry Blann
1987 Clarene&Creed Law1997 Wayne Worthen2007 Dave Rader2017 John Johnson
1988 John Olson1998 Gene Bryan2008 Chuck Box2018 Doug & Kathleen Campbell
1989 Quin Blair1999 Bill Sniffin2009 Jim McCaleb2019 Rick Hoeninghausen