When the Rogue Riders come to town Wednesday (June 27) in their quest to determine America’s friendliest small town and they venture on to the Texas A&M University campus, they will almost certainly get a big dose of Aggie hospitality — personified by the trademark “Howdy” greeting.
They also will be shown around with a zeal that history has shown favorably impresses campus visitors, be they from elsewhere in Texas, out of state or abroad.
Thus, Aggies — the entire Aggie family — might be considered College Station’s “ace in the hole” when the two-person Rogue Riders team visits around town for five days to gage its friendliness waters in comparison to those in small towns in four other states along with another Texas town, Frisco.
Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin joined with city officials and local civic leaders in encouraging a warm welcome for the Rogue Riders, saying that he is confident that Aggies and all others in the campus community will do their part to convince the Rogue Riders that College Station is worthy of being designated the nation’s friendliest small town.
“We — Aggies — pride ourselves on being friendly, and we are proud to call College Station our home and pleased to be right in the heart of town, so we certainly plan to do our part to show our well-known hospitality and help add ‘America’s friendliest small town’ to College Station’s many claims to fame,” notes Loftin, who is well known for his personal friendliness.
Other finalists in the friendliest-small-town category of the Rand McNally and USA Today’s “Best of the Road” competition are Murray, Ky.; Joplin, Mo.; Cloudcroft, N.M. and San Luis Obispo, Calif.
The winners will be announced July 16 and will be highlighted in Rand McNally’s 2013 Road Atlas and in USA Today. The tour will also be featured in a one-hour television special on the Travel Channel in late July.
The City of College Station is working with the Bryan-College Station Convention and Visitors Bureau, BCS Chamber of Commerce, along with Texas A&M, to plan an itinerary for the team’s visit. The Rogue Riders will travel around town in a specially marked “Best of the Road” Honda CRV and will post photos, videos, blogs and social media reports about their experiences.
“It’s quite an honor to be a finalist for friendliest city, which is a quality that everyone who lives in College Station has always recognized and valued,” Mayor Nancy Berry said earlier in the week as the city geared up for the Rogue Riders’ visit. “This is our chance to let the nation know what we’re all about, so if you see the Rogue Riders around town, be sure and give them a warm smile and a friendly ‘howdy.’”
Additional road rally teams will determine the top cities in four other categories — most beautiful, most fun, most patriotic and best of food.
The teams and finalists were selected after receiving the most online votes in May. The Best of the Road Rally began on June 15 in Washington, D.C.