‘Focus on the Byway’ Photo Contest Begins

Website outlines rules
Anyone with a camera has a new opportunity to get the creative juices flowing and compete in a unique photography contest.
It is called “Focus on the Byway” and is open to amateurs and professionals of all ages. The year-long contest begins immediately and provides several chances to win cash prizes each quarter of that year.Photographers are asked to focus their lenses on the Kansas Wetlands & Wildlife National Scenic Byway.
            The Byway corridor includes Claflin, Ellinwood, Great Bend, Hoisington, HudsonSt. John and Stafford; the Byway winds through Barton, Reno and Stafford counties.
            “We encourage photographers to get involved in this new opportunity to draw attention to the beauty of the Byway and the quality of life that exists here in central Kansas,” said Cris Collier, director of the Great Bend Convention & Visitors’ Bureau (CVB). “This contest is unique in a number of ways that we think will attract those with a creative flair.”
            Collier outlined a few of the contest basics:
            ♦ Photographers will submit entries only online; there are a variety of categories for adults; the contest will be ongoing from now until April of next year; and there will be “great cash prizes.”
            ♦ “Photographers from ages 5 to 17 will not have to follow the category structure,” she noted. “They can shoot whatever they want.”
            Collier also noted that the contest is a first for a Kansas byway, and she knows of only one other in the United States. There are 150 national scenic byways nationwide.
            “This contest is a new way to promote the Byway region as a popular travel destination,” Collier said. “This will be a great way to showcase our great visitor experiences and opportunities.”
            All rules for the online submissions can be found at This is a page on the CVB website, which is
            Judges will select winners in each category every quarter beginning in April. Categories are outdoor adventure; events and attractions; people; scenic/wildlife; and slice-of-life portrait.
            Bob Gress of Wichita will be one of the five judges. The prize for first place in each category each quarter is $300. Second place will receive $150 and third, $50.
            First-place winners in each category for each quarter will be placed in the “Best of the Byway” contest at the end of the final quarter. The grand-prize winner will earn $1,000 in cash.
            “All entries should depict the beauty, spirit and/or character of the Byway,” Collier said. “We strongly encourage anyone interested to visit our website for all the rules and guidelines. It clearly outlines the photographers’ assignments.”
            The Byway is sponsoring the contest; the Great Bend CVB is its marketing arm.
            The Byway connects two of the world’s most ecologically important wetlands – Cheyenne Bottoms and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge.
            “This 77-mile route offers these wonderful wetlands, as well as stone bridges, underground tunnels, museums, local artwork, birds of prey and grasslands,” Collier said. “It is a photographer’s paradise.”