FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association
PHONE: 256.350.3500 / 800.648.5381
AMLA Announces Florence/Shoals Area Recipients of 2022 PEAK Awards
Decatur, Ala. (September 22, 2022) – The Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association (AMLA) announced the recipients of the 2022 PEAK Awards today at the AMLA Annual Meeting held at Mars Music Hall in downtown Huntsville, Ala. A Lauderdale County event, a mayor and a retired university professional were recognized for their hard work and contribution to North Alabama’s $3.7 billion tourism industry.
Representing the highest achievement in North Alabama tourism, the PEAK Awards honor individuals, events and organizations that have had a major impact on tourism in North Alabama.
AMLA has honored the Lexington Truck and Tractor Pull with the 2022 Event of the Year award. The Event of the Year award is presented to the AMLA member special event or festival that has made a great contribution to tourism in the past year. In 2019, the town of Lexington (Ala.) announced the return of its popular Lexington Truck and Tractor Pull. The event started in 1978 and was last held in 2008. During this time, it received attention from ESPN and a mention in Vogue magazine on its list of unusual places to meet men. The 2019 Lexington Truck and Tractor Pull was voted Pull of the Year by the Mid-South Pullers Association and the 2020 event had a record number of trucks and tractors participating in the competition with nine states represented. The 2021 attendance figure exceeded previous events with over 17,000 people descending on the town with a population of 785.
The “Good Neighbor” Friend of Tourism Award is presented to a person or organization whose body of work has had a significant impact on tourism in the past year. AMLA has honored Mayor Kerry “Bubba” Underwood with the 2022 “Good Neighbor” Friend of Tourism award. Underwood was elected to his first term as Mayor of Tuscumbia on August 23, 2016, and is currently serving. He is no stranger to the tourism and travel industry, serving as treasurer of the Friends of Spring Park Foundation and working with downtown merchant organizations for several years where he also served as chairman. He has been supportive in many areas of tourism including the financing and promotions of events as well as volunteering his own time.
AMLA awarded the 2022 President’s Award posthumously to William “Bill” Jarnigan. The President’s Award is presented to any person or organization whose tourism-related project created awareness or presented a positive image for North Alabama in the past year. Prior to his death, Jarnigan was retired from the University of North Alabama as director of university relations. In his role as director of university relations, he mentored, educated, advised and encouraged countless students on career choices and preparedness. In addition, he founded the Northwest Alabama Film Advisory Board and was instrumental in the creation of the George Lindsey UNA Film Festival, an international competitive film festival now in its 24th year. He founded and edited the UNA Magazine, wrote a gospel music column and over the course of his life, served in roles that promote the region’s music and culture such as executive director of the Muscle Shoals Music Association, the Alabama Film Commission, the Alabama State Council of the Arts and Alabama Folklife Association Board of Directors. His photographs have appeared in “People,” “Country Music” and other magazines. He wrote numerous music-related articles about the Shoals and accumulated volumes of research on the subject.
“With the PEAK Awards, we celebrate and recognize the many talented individuals and organizations who offer our visitors a unique and memorable experience. These individuals and organizations continue to show their commitment, resilience and ingenuity, even during the uncertain times a pandemic brings with it. Because of these tourism leaders, attractions, festivals and front-line workers, the tourism and travel industry continues to be a driving force in North Alabama’s economy,” said AMLA President/CEO Tami Reist.
Eleven awards were handed out at the awards presentation, held during the annual meeting. This year’s award winners are:
Organization of the Year
The Organization of the Year award is presented to the AMLA member organization that has contributed significantly to the betterment and development of tourism in North Alabama in the past year.
Winner: Marshall County Tourism and Sports
Event of the Year
The Event of the Year award is presented to the AMLA member special event or festival that has made a great contribution to tourism in the past year.
Winner: Lexington Truck and Tractor Pull
Attraction of the Year
The Attraction of the Year award is presented to the AMLA member attraction that has made a great contribution to tourism in the past year.
Winner: Orion Amphitheater
Good Neighbor Award
The “Good Neighbor” Friend of Tourism Award is presented to a person or organization whose body of work has had a significant impact on tourism in the past year.
Winner: Mayor Kerry Underwood, City of Tuscumbia
Northern Star Award
The Northern Star Award is presented to an individual, such as a ranger, guide and a front line employee, who has gone “above and beyond” expectations.
Winner: Jabria Finch, Double Tree Suites by Hilton South Parkway
Young Professional of the Year Award
The Young Professional of the Year “Green Apple Award” is awarded to a person who has been in the tourism business less than seven years and has exhibited extraordinary leadership skills and initiative associated with their position.
Winner: Blake Williams, Blake Williams Communications
Tourism Professional of the Year
The Tourism Professional of the Year award is presented to an individual or employee of an AMLA member organization who has made a great contribution to tourism in the past year.
Winner: Pam Williams, Huntsville/Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau
Lasting Impression Award
The Lasting Impression Award is presented to an attraction, event, person or organization that has provided a “lasting impression” on tourists thereby improving the overall image of tourism in North Alabama.
Winner: Scottsboro Three Arts Club
The Chairman’s Cup Award is given annually to a travel writer or media person who has over time demonstrated support of AMLA, the region and its tourism activities.
Winner: Carrie Banks, Communications Director, Alabama League of Municipalities and editor, Alabama Municipal Journal
The President’s Award is presented to any person or organization whose tourism-related project created awareness or presented a positive image for North Alabama in the past year.
Winner: The late William “Bill” Jarnigan, University of North Alabama
Top North Alabama Ambassador of the Year
The award recognizes the work and achievements of the top performing North Alabama Ambassador in the past year.
Winner: David Parham, Huntsville, Ala.
Images of award recipients are available upon request by calling AMLA at 800.648.5381 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association (AMLA)
AMLA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion and development of the travel industry within the 16 northernmost counties of the state. It is supported by 500-plus members consisting of chambers of commerce, Convention & Visitors Bureaus, attractions, campgrounds, festivals, communities, counties, golf courses, restaurants, tour operators, accommodations, vendors, financial institutions and individuals. Counties included within the AMLA region are Blount, Cherokee, Colbert, Cullman, DeKalb, Etowah, Franklin, Jackson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Morgan and Winston. Additional information on North Alabama destinations, accommodations and special events is available by calling 800.648.5381 or by visiting www.NorthAlabama.org. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @VisitNorthAL and like us at www.facebook.com/VisitNorthAL.