Championship wins award for third time

Robert Smith
This Pawhuska Chamber of Commerce committee paved the way for the 2016 Merit Award for Outstanding Event for the National Indian Taco Championship. Pictured are, from left, Reba Bueno, Joni Nash, Patricia Counts, Jared Lemmons, Paula Stabler, Lisa Mashunkashey and Miya McKim. Courtesy

Pawhuska appears to have perfected its recipe for a delectable Indian taco event.

The Pawhuska Chamber of Commerce recently won the Merit Award in the Outstanding Event category from the Oklahoma Travel Industry Association for the third time in four years for its National Indian Taco Championship. The taco championship is a fall event. It took place Oct. 6 last year.

The Merit Award functions like the second-place award in each OTIA award category, with the RedBud award being the top honor. Pawhuska won the Merit Award for Outstanding Event for the taco championship in 2016, 2017 and again this year.

Joni Nash, Pawhuska chamber executive director, said the real credit for the success of the event goes to the members of the committee who put in the work necessary to get ready each year. The chamber said that members of the committee that planned, promoted and conducted the fall 2018 Indian taco championship were: Jared Lemmons, Reba Bueno, Joni Nash, Robynn Rulo, Lisa Mashunkashey, Patricia Counts, Miya McKim, John Parker and Amber Kyler. Lemmons was the committee chair.

“You’re talking about events across the state, so we’re very blessed in Pawhuska with a community that believes in community events,” Nash said, emphasizing that the award competition has been considerable. She gave particular credit for the competitiveness of Pawhuska’s taco championship to past committee chair Patricia Counts.

“She just put us in a place to do well,” Nash said of Counts. “She trained up her committee.”

Reba Bueno, office manager at the Pawhuska chamber, made a similar comment regarding Counts’ influence on the committee.

“She completely transformed it when she got on the committee,” Bueno said.

Bueno also said groups interested in participating in the National Indian Taco Championship in the fall may want to think about handling their registration now, because it will be cheaper that way. For the Early Bird Special, if you sign up before June 29, the application fee is $50. If you sign up after June 28, the fee goes up to $75, she said. For participants needing electric, it is an additional $15 surcharge, Bueno said.