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Big Kansas Road Trip Moves to Southeast Kansas


May 11, 2021

Contact: Marci Penner,, 620.585.2374.


The Big Kansas Road Trip in upper northeast Kansas ended with more than a hundred people at the Kansas Explorers Club meeting waiting anxiously for news about where the fourth annual BKRT would take place. Cheers and applause accompanied the announcement that Bourbon, Cherokee and Crawford counties in southeast Kansas would be the next area to be showcased May 5-8, 2022.

Allyson Turvey, Fort Scott Tourism Director; Rachel Pruitt, Fort Scott Economic Development Director; and Rhonda Dunn, tourism advisory board member, represented the 2022 planning team at this year’s Big Kansas Road Trip (BKRT) in Brown, Doniphan and Nemaha counties. They were introduced at the Kansas Explorers Club meeting and they welcomed the crowd to southeast Kansas.

The BKRT, a project of the Inman-based, non-profit Kansas Sampler Foundation, replaced the 27-year run of the popular Kansas Sampler Festival. The first counties to be featured in the new format in 2018 were Barber, Comanche and Kiowa counties. The next year the northwest counties of Cheyenne, Sherman and Wallace were highlighted. The 2020 event was postponed until this May due to the pandemic. Foundation director Marci Penner said, “By showcasing three counties, we give people a reason to come see a part of the state they might not know very well. We’re trying to get people addicted to exploring!”

Penner continued, “All we ask of the communities is to be good at being themselves, that’s all. It’s a time to show-and-tell a story that even locals might find interesting. The event is like a tri-county open house, an ala carte adventure. Hundreds of people will travel all over the three counties but on their own time frame to places they choose to go. Those who attend are excited to interact with the locals, to buy and eat at locally-owned businesses and to get to know something unique about each community.”

Penner and assistant director WenDee Rowe will be coming to Fort Scott, Pittsburg and Columbus on June 7 and 8 to meet with county leaders and those interested in learning more about how to participate. In addition to Turvey and Pruitt representing Bourbon County, Devin Gorman and Chris Wilson of the Crawford County Convention and Visitors Bureau will lead Crawford County, and Liz Simpson of The Columbus Project and Jake Letner, Columbus Community Development Coordinator, will lead Cherokee County. Anyone interested in being the main contact for their community should attend the June meetings.

Allyson Turvey said, “I am so excited to have the Big Kansas Road Trip making its way to Southeast Kansas next year. The locals always love the opportunity to greet new visitors, and show off everything that makes our rural communities special; BKRT is the perfect time to do just that!”

Learn more about the Big Kansas Road Trip.