Rio Rancho Observer

We’ve revamped the Observer Readers’ Choice contest, and its new process starts tomorrow.
First, we’ve reduced the number of categories to 99 from the more than 300 we started with a few years ago. The new version features a section recognizing favorite community servants and a narrowed focus on Rio Rancho.
We will also have only first and second places this year.
The smaller number of categories will be less overwhelming for our readers who wish to participate, and it will better highlight the outstanding winners, instead of letting them become lost in the crowd. Plus, having just first and second places will allow us to get award certificates and decals to the winners in a more timely manner.
Also, we’ve responded to the most prevalent feedback, and are focused on Rio Rancho and the immediately surrounding communities this year. Winners must be businesses, nonprofits, workers and volunteers in Sandoval County or far northwest Albuquerque.
This means the organizations must have a physical location in Sandoval County or, if in Albuquerque, no farther south than Alameda Boulevard or, after Alameda veers north, McMahon Boulevard, and no farther east than I-25. If the business or nonprofit is online only or mobile, the owner must have a business license or nonprofit registration in the set geographical area.
In categories recognizing individuals, they must serve with organizations in our contest area based on the above guidelines.
Yes, we will check to make sure those requirements are met, and we will disqualify any proposed winner that doesn’t meet them.
We think this geographical focus will give our local businesses, nonprofits and public servants more of the attention and kudos they’ve earned, and support the lovely communities of Rio Rancho, Corrales, Bernalillo and Placitas.
As far as the process for arriving at winners, we’re taking nominations before the actual voting this year. This will put everyone on even footing and smooth the following voting process.
Based on IP address, everyone can give one nomination per category. You can skip any category you want and still have your nominations count in the others. The same will apply to voting.
We’re taking nominations Monday through July 26. Voting runs July 30-Sept. 7.
We’ll begin notifying winners after Sept. 10, and the special section listing all winners will come out Oct. 31. Winners will begin receiving their certificates and decals the following week.
Those awards will be provided free of charge. Any entity trying to sell plaques to winners isn’t affiliated with the Observer or our Readers’ Choice contest.
Visit to nominate your local favorites; return to the same site to vote. There’s no charge to nominate, vote or win.
We’d love to have as much participation as possible. Help our outstanding local businesses, nonprofits and public servants shine!