Texas State Parks Photo Contest winner leaps to victory

AUSTIN A photo capturing a family jumping for joy bounded over 17 other finalists to win the Texas State Parks photo contest grand prize.

The year-long contest, part of Texas Parks and Wildlife’s (TPWD) festivities celebrating 100 years of Texas State Parks, elicited more than 6,000 entries. A panel of judges chose four seasonal winners and runners-up, which were then entered into a public vote to select the grand prize winner.

Sam Holm of North Texas said his family is thrilled to have taken the winning photo, which captures a new family tradition.

“We took our first jump photo at Enchanted Rock,” Holm said in a news release. “We decided to try it again at Palo Duro Canyon State Park. We got it in one take.”

Holm, his wife and two daughters are avid state park fans and feel “big-time blessed” to have so many natural spaces to enjoy.

Now they’ll get to supercharge their state park vacations with their grand prize award: a Texas State Parks Pass, a $500 gift card from H-E-B donated by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation and a VIP curated experience in a Texas state park.

“We are so grateful to everyone who entered the photo contest,” Whitney Bishop, TPWD social media coordinator, said in the release. “There are thousands of special moments happening every day at Texas state parks and we feel privileged to be a part of that.”

The fun doesn’t stop at state parks when the clock strikes midnight. Texas state parks are offering fresh photo opps with their New Year’s First Day Hikes tradition. Visitors can choose from an array of events including night hikes, nature walks and polar plunges to ring in 2024. More information about First Day Hikes including a list of events can be found on the TPWD website.