If you are looking for the best tour of the World’s Only Corn Palace you do not have to look far. Troy “Popcorn” Magnuson has been a staple of Mitchell’s Tourism for over 37 years and was honored during the 2023 South Dakota Governor’s Conference on Tourism with the Ruth Zoilkowski award.
“Troy loves his job, and he loves whom he works with, so coming to work is so enjoyable,” said Ellie Hohn, tourism retail manager at the Corn Palace Gift Shop. “He goes above and beyond for every tour he gives and works hard throughout the day in the gift shop. Troy is such an important staple to the Mitchell community for his hard work and dedication.”
Magnuson was joined by tourism industry partners, South Dakota State Legislators and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem to celebrate the success of 2022 tourism and to prepare for 2023. Thursday evenings Awards Night Gala honors leaders within the industry and is an opportunity for celebration before another exciting year of celebrating all that is South Dakota. A surprised and humbled Magnuson accepted the Ruth Zoilkowski award for the Southeast South Dakota Region.
“Thank you truly,” surprised Magnuson said. “I love what I do and the team I get to work with, but it is not work if you get to do what you love. I am honored and flattered.”
Magnuson has worked at the Corn Palace Gift Shop and Chamber for 37 years giving around 110 tours per year (this excludes the tours he schedules during his personal time). From May to October, you can find Troy leading bus tour after bus tour. Throughout his career he has led over thousands of tours. From elementary class tours, to retired bus groups, he uses his excellent customer service skills to adjust to each group in a unique way for them to enjoy their time and understanding the history of the World’s Only Corn Palace. He also learns something new from each group he meets. He truly enjoys meeting and talking to tourists every day.
“Popcorn” is also a proud member of the local Shriner’s Organization and helps organize events such as the Annual Community Christmas Dinner and Circus.
The Ruth Ziolkowski Outstanding Hospitality & Customer Service Award is presented to four individuals – one from each of our state’s four regions – for outstanding hospitality and customer service in the tourism industry. The award recognizes a member of the South Dakota tourism industry who provides remarkable service to every visitor he or she encounters, and whose work, like Ruth Ziolkowski’s, demonstrates an outstanding spirit of hospitality, warmth, and genuine kindness.
Mitchell Area Chamber of Commerce and CVB