Did You Know...?
The large ceremonial gavel used to open and close the convention is made of walnut, is three feet in length and weighs 11 pounds, 13 ounces. The current ceremonial gavel has been in use since 2001 and was built by students in Kress, a small school in the Texas Panhandle. It replaced an earlier version that was made of softer wood and was damaged by use.
The gavel used by the presiding officers during each session was presented to the 2001-02 state officers by Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives James E. “Pete” Laney, a former FFA member from Hale Center. It, like all gavels used in the legislature, was made by residents in the Texas Department of Corrections.
The Lone Star FFA archway used in the state degree ceremony was built by members of the Friona FFA and presented to the Texas FFA at the 51st Texas FFA Convention held in Lubbock in 1979.
The wooden podium used in the first general session was built by the members of the Van Chapter in Area VI in memory of 1996-97 State Vice President Ryan Mott of Quanah and presented to the Texas FFA at the 70th Convention held in 1998 in Fort Worth. Nathan Daniels of Van was one of Ryan’s state officer teammates.
The first talent competition was held in 1950 in San Antonio. Grady Price, an accordion player from Frankston was the winner and was given the title “Star FFA Entertainer.”
The first Texas FFA meeting of any kind was held in College Station in April, 1929, but it was actually a meeting of the FFT, Future Farmers of Texas. Another FFT meeting was held in Dallas later that year. Howard Strother was elected as president of the FFT, but became Texas FFA president when Texas received its charter from the national organization. The convention was held in conjunction with the State Fair of Texas from 1929-33.
The pipe and drape used around the convention is put in place by San Antonio-based Convention Decorating Service. Frank Neely, who coordinates all the decorating has been decorating Texas FFA Conventions since 1958.
The trusses which carry lighting and sound above the stage are put in place by Media Event Concepts, which has provided audio-visual services to the Texas FFA Convention since 1995. The trusswork is suspended from the building supports by rigging which is put place prior to convention by riggers who actually climb into the buildings girders.
The 83rd convention is the tenth Texas FFA convention held in Lubbock. The first state convention held in Lubbock was in 1935.