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Joplin welcomes Team Rogue Riders from Friendliest City contest - KOAM TV 7

Joplin welcomes Team Rogue Riders from Friendliest City contest

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Updated June 20:  The city of Joplin lays out the welcome mat for two very special guests today.

A jam-packed schedule for the Team Rogue Riders, two people who are visiting the friendliest cities in the country. (Visit Rogue Riders on Facebook)

This morning a crowd greeted Jennifer and Robert at the Joplin Museum Complex.  After that the pair got a hands on tour in the Candy House Factory.

This afternoon they'll head to the Cunningham Park and pool.

And later Jennifer and Robert will meet locals at the Route 66 Carousel Park which is offering free mini-golf for everyone from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. today.

Tonight, the Team Rogue Riders take in an Outlaws baseball game.

After their visit to Joplin the special guests will meet up with other teams traveling to different cities and share their notes.

That's when judges with Rand McNally and USA Today will decide which small city will earn the title "Friendliest City."

Updated June 18:  Joplin residents could soon become famous for its treatment of strangers.

Two tourists will be in Joplin on Wednesday to visit several parks, events, and meet-and-greets throughout the day.  They'll also stay around for Joplin's Third Thursday event.

The tourists will then eventually head back to Seattle, Washington where other tourists show their travel notes.  Map maker Rand McNally and USA Today will then vote on which city is the Friendliest Small City in the USA.

"Winners of each of the categories, they are presented on the cover of USA Today, they're on USAToday.com, and Best of the Road Rand McNally's website," says Martha Getz of the Joplin Convention Bureau.  "They will be in the 2015 road atlas, highlighted as the Friendliest City, and some information about our city.  We're in their GPS navigation tools and all of their social media sites, as well."

City officials urge Joplin residents to make signs welcoming the tourists.

"I'm not a native here, I've been here for 11 years and it really is the people who make Joplin great," says Getz.  "People are friendly.  They open doors for you.  If you're stuck on the side of the road, they pull over and offer you assistance.  I've had people help me to my car with my groceries.  That's something that I feel is kind of being lost in a lot of cities."

Reported June 15, 2012:  Joplin has been named one of six finalists for the Friendliest City category in USA Today's Best of the Road contest.

The results of the contest are determined by teams of judges who will travel to the cities between now and July 16.

Judges will be in each city for two days and some in Joplin are confident their community will win.

"Joplin has something they don't have, and that's us, we're awesome," says Martha Getz of the Joplin Convention and Visitor's Bureau.  "We have the best citizens.  We have the best feeling community.  Over the last year we have seen that community spirit come back to life and our visitors are feeling that and we want our team to feel that as well."

A date for the judges arrival to Joplin has not yet been set.

News release:  Joplin in the running for Friendliest City in the "Best of the Road" contest (6/15/2012 - City of Joplin)

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