Go West, Young Winner Looking for a new incentive idea? You may want to heed Horace Greely's legendary advice and head west--to a dude ranch. Many of the 100 members of the Dude Ranchers' Association focus on group business, with some offering meeting facilities, says Jim Futterer, executive director of the LaPorte, CO-based organization. He believes the dude ranch experience brings people together because the setting is so unlike a city. "They build those informal bonds that are so important. And there's an activity to suit every type of person."

Flathead Lake Lodge in Bigfork, MT, for example, caters to group business in May, June, September, and October. The 2,000-acre ranch in Rocky Mountain country has 5,500 square feet of meeting space and lodge and cottage accommodations for 46 individually and 90 shared. "A lot of groups don't think of going to a dude ranch," says owner Maureen Averill. "But this is a more relaxed setting than a big hotel. It promotes real camaraderie."

For more information and a copy of the 1997 "Dude Rancher" directory, call (970) 223-8440, or visit the association's Web site at www.duderanch.org.

First-Time Conference Draws Heavy-Hitters Some 75 people attended the first

Beyond Borders Conference, an educational forum for planners and suppliers of international meetings, incentives, and events, held at the New York Hilton in March.

Co-sponsored by Adams/Laux Publishing, publisher of Corporate Meetings & Incentives and four other meeting industry magazines, and PGI, a global events, entertainment, exhibitions, and business communications company headquartered in Arlington, VA, the conference was a spin-off of Adams/Laux's popular Beyond Borders magazine supplement on how to plan international meetings and incentive programs, published annually in June.

Meeting planners, who represented at least 50 percent of the attendance, included representatives from Motorola, Prudential Securities, and Dow Corning.

Virginia Lofft, vice president/publishing director of Adams/Laux, and C.B. Weismar, senior vice president, corporate marketing & communications, PGI, opened the conference with congratulations for attendees on their global outlook and forethought in entering the international meetings arena.

A dozen topics were covered in the day-and-a-half seminar, presented by experts in the field, including Conference Chair Anne Boehme, CMP, president of Meetings & Management Plus; Jonathan Howe, Esq., Howe & Hutton Ltd.; and Kathleen Papadimitriou, president, Safaris/PGI. Another conference sponsor, Shangri-La Hotels, provided registration materials, including a bound workbook and a copy of luncheon speaker Roger Axtell's Gestures: The Do's and Taboos of Body Language Around the World.

Based on comprehensive attendee evaluations, Adams/Laux plans to hold the Beyond Borders Conference annually.