Troy Keeping, regional vice president for Delaware North’s gaming business and president/general manager at the company-owned-and-operated Southland Park Gaming & Racing, was named the 2014 Tourism Person of the Year at the Henry Awards on March 10 to close the 41st Annual Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism.
The Henry Awards, held at the Arkansas Convention Center in Texarkana, took place during the Governor’s Banquet – attended by newly-elected Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, along with about 500 of the state’s hospitality and tourism professionals.
Selected by former honorees, the Tourism Person of the Year Award is presented annually to an individual who has been actively involved in tourism and who has made a substantial contribution within the past year to the betterment of the tourism industry as a whole.
Keeping’s 2014 accomplishments were attributed as the basis for his selection, including, but not limited to, his duties as the president and general manager of one of the region’s largest and fastest growing gaming and entertainment destinations along with its significant economic impact in excess of $100 million in 2014. He was also recognized for his efforts to improve the community, highlighted by contributions to the growth of Mid-South Community College.
Keeping was quick to share the award with those around him.
“I am so unbelievably honored to accept this award, but I must admit, I wouldn’t be able to do anything if it weren’t for the support of my wife, Maryann, my family and my team at Southland Park,” he said. “I have had some amazing experiences in my career but none of them have brought me the joy and excitement that being a part of the Arkansas tourism industry has.”
Past recipients of the award read like a “who’s who” in Arkansas tourism, including Jim Gaston (Gaston’s White River Resort in the Ozark Mountains), Shelby and Wayne Woods (CJRW – Arkansas’ largest advertising agency) and 2013’s winner, Alice Walton (Wal-Mart and developer of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville).
PHOTO CAPTION: Troy Keeping (center) accepts the 2014 Tourism Person of the Year award from Richard Davies (right), executive director of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, and Ashton Campbell, 2014 Miss Arkansas.