With all the hoopla of a Republican National Convention, the Future Farmers of America are in the process of converting the Moffat County High School gymnasium into the site of this year's State Convention and Leadership Training Conference.
With banners, podiums and delegate chairs lining the floor, the gymnasium has been transformed into a setting more like the New Orleans Superdome, than a Northwest Colorado high school.
More than 1,200 paid members of Future Farmers of America (FFA) will attend the 73rd annual event June 6-8 the first State Convention to be held in Craig since 1965.
"What the State Convention is all about is recognizing some of the members who have made outstanding contributions throughout the year in the classroom, through FFA and in a supervised agricultural component," said Ricky Sellars, Colorado FFA State Advisor. "This allows us to evaluate, rank and award our state winners, and possibly send them onto national competition."
Members will be treated to a few days of entertainment, exhibits and educational activities, with the festivities kicking off tonight with music by Blue Harvest and a llama exhibit in City Park.
The official start of the convention is the opening session at 7 p.m. Wednesday evening at the high school, which will be followed by a dance.
"This week is filled with all sorts of things to do," Sellars said. "Of course, we have some serious business to attend to, but we try to make it a good time for everyone."
FFA chapters are allowed to bring as many members as they wish to the convention, however, only two delegates can be voting representatives for each chapter. They vote for changes in legislation and matters dealing with organization and the state chapter's future direction.
"FFA teaches these kids responsibility, accountability and different ways that they can continue to remain aware of what is current in the agricultural field," Sellars said. "Not all of these kids are going to end up working on a farm, but there are many different things that they can do that are agriculturally related.
"Working for a turf and lawn company, in agri-business and even somewhere in production, are all options to stay in the agricultural field," he said. "We want these members to develop character, get some first-hand knowledge, find their likes and dislikes and hopefully enter a career in the agricultural field."
This week, members will face a some classroom training and also seeing some of the sights in Northwest Colorado. Some group members will take a tour of Trapper Mine later this week, while others will play at the miniature golf course or swim at the Craig Wave Pool.
"We have tried to get some neat things for the FFA members to do while they are here in Craig," said Mary Morris of Colorado Northwest Community College, one of the program's supporters. "The Trapper Mine trip should be something that really interests these kids. We really want to show them all of the neat things there are to do here in Craig."
Winners of awards given during the State Convention will have the opportunity to go on to the National FFA Convention, which will be held this year in Louisville, Ky., and attracts more than 46,000 members.
FFA convention schedule of events
Wednesday, June 6
1 p.m. -4 p.m. Registration at the high school
4 p.m. - 6 p.m. Barbecue at Loudy-Simpson Park
7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Opening session in the MCHS gymnasium
10:00 p.m. - 11:30 p.m. Dance in the MCHS first floor commons
Thursday, June 7
8:30 a.m. - 10 a.m. Session #2, MCHS gymnasium
10 a.m. - noon Agri-science fair, first floor commons area
1 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. Session #3, MCHS gymnasium
2:30 p.m. - 4 p.m. Business meeting, #1 MCHS gymnasium
5 p.m. -6:30 p.m. Alumni barbeque, MCHS football field
7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Session #4, MCHS Gymnasium
Friday, June 8
8:30 a.m. - 10 a.m. Session #5, MCHS gymnasium
10 a.m. - 11 a.m. Business meeting, #2 gymnasium
10 a.m. - noon Quiz Bowl, auditorium
1 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. Session #6, MCHS gymnasium
2:30 p.m. - 3:45 p.m. Issues workshops, various locations
4 p.m. - 6 p.m. Session #7 MCHS, gymnasium
7:30 p.m. Officer's dinner with parents, Holiday Inn