Topeka, KS– KANSAS! Magazine has received a Gold Award for its history feature titled “200 Years of the Santa Fe Trail” at the 42nd annual International Regional Magazine Association (IRMA) awards presentation. The award-winning feature, published in fall 2021 by writer Beccy Tanner, illustrates the importance the Santa Fe Trail had on shaping not only Kansas, but the west as we know it.

In addition to Gold, KANSAS! won a Silver Award, two Bronze Awards, and was a Finalist for Magazine of the Year. Andrea Etzel, Editor of KANSAS! and publication manager for Kansas Tourism, accepted the awards on behalf of the magazine.

Published by Kansas Tourism, a division of the Kansas Department of Commerce, KANSAS! is the premier subscription lifestyle magazine for the Sunflower State.

“I am thrilled to see KANSAS! Magazine getting national recognition for its compelling story telling and illustrations,” Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland said. “This magazine does a wonderful job of highlighting the unique places of Kansas, and most importantly, the inspiring people.”

In the Profile Category, the magazine won a Silver Award for “After Ad Astra” by Amber Fraley, which appeared in the third issue of 2021. In this profile, Fraley talked with one of the nation’s most sought-after sculptors, Ed Dwight, a Kansas City native who was on a fast track to become the first Black astronaut until the government pulled the plug on that program during the 1960s.

For the Illustration Category, the magazine won a Bronze Award for “Airship,” which was designed by Lana Grove to accompany the story “Airship Alert.” Telling the tale of 1880s Kansas aircraft inventers, who set off hysteria across the state with rumors of out-of-this-world crafts carrying away livestock. The story ran in the fifth issue of 2021.

Rounding out the Bronze Award wins was for Art Direction of a Single Story. The winning feature was “Haunted Atchison” by art director Shelly Bryant. This category recognizes an art director’s ability to craft an engaging story layout through the use of design, photography and copy. In “Haunted Atchison,” as one judge noted, Bryant “nailed the creepy vibes … photo style and treatment aligned perfectly with the story.” In this feature, writers shared their experiences staying overnight at two of Atchison’s most haunted locations – the infamous Sallie House and the 1889 McInteer Villa. This story can be found in the fifth issue of 2021.

The final recognition for KANSAS! was being honored as a finalist for Magazine of the Year. A judge remarked: “… this magazine’s strength is identifying strong characters, people, faces to tell the stories of this place.” As a finalist, it acknowledges the magazine’s talented team of editors, writers, photographers and artists who are passionate about sharing and celebrating the best of Kansas with its readers.

“For 77 years KANSAS! Magazine has been capturing the hearts of readers,” Kansas Tourism Director Bridgette Jobe said.KANSAS! Magazine has a profound way of telling the stories of Kansas, from the beautiful landscapes, businesses and attractions, to the awe-inspiring people who have called Kansas home.”

IRMA members include state, province and regional publications from across the United States, Bermuda and Canada. The awards, which were announced in May in Ottawa, Canada, recognized work published in 2021 and were judged by independent panels of experts.

To subscribe to KANSAS! Magazine, go to A one-year subscription is $20.


About the Kansas Tourism Division

The mission of the Kansas Tourism Division is to inspire travel to and throughout Kansas to maximize the positive impacts that tourism has on our state and local communities. Kansas Tourism is a division of the Kansas Department of Commerce and works hand in hand with other Commerce community programs to elevate and promote Kansas as a tourist destination. Kansas Tourism oversees all tourism marketing and PR for the state, produces travel publications and advertising, manages state Travel Information Centers, manages both the Kansas By-ways program and the Kansas Agritourism program, approves tourist signage applications, produces the KANSAS! Magazine, and provides financial and educational support to the tourism industry in Kansas through grants, education, and support.

About the Kansas Department of Commerce

As the state’s lead economic development agency, the Kansas Department of Commerce strives to empower individuals, businesses and communities to achieve prosperity in Kansas. Commerce accomplishes its mission by developing relationships with corporations, site location consultants and stakeholders in Kansas, the nation and world. Our strong partnerships allow us to help create an environment for existing Kansas businesses to grow and foster an innovative, competitive landscape for new businesses. Through Commerce’s project successes, Kansas in 2021 was awarded Site Selection Magazine’s Governor’s Cup awardArea Development Magazine’s Gold Shovel award for two years in a row and was named Site Selection Magazine’s Best Business Climate in the West North Central region of the United States. Find the Department’s strategic plan for economic growth here: Kansas Framework for Growth.