For the first time, MTSU will serve as host for the 92nd National Block and Bridle Convention.
The convention, which has a theme of “Moovin’ to the Music,” gets under way on Tuesday, Jan. 31, at the Embassy Suites Murfreesboro Hotel and Conference Center.
On Wednesday, Feb. 1, the anticipated 434 students from 34 colleges and universities will attend the National Cattleman’s Beef Association Cattle Industry Convention and Trade Show at Nashville’s Gaylord Opryland Hotel & Convention Center. Participants can choose from five tour options on Thursday, Feb. 2.
“There has been a lot of planning and hard work from everybody, not just a few people,” said Julie Ozburn, a convention co-chair with fellow senior Abby Burger. “It has taken the connections from different people as well as the work to get it accomplished.
“This is big for Tennessee as well as MTSU,” Ozburn added. “This event shows off Tennessee agriculture. Block and Bridle encompasses not just one area of animals but also different areas of animals in the ag industry. With the tours, we can highlight a lot of animal areas.”
The students have been planning the event since March 2011 and raised $28,000 toward convention expenses, said Dr. Jessica Gentry Carter, an associate professor in the School of Agribusiness and Agriscience. She serves as Block and Bridle co-adviser with Dr. Rhonda Hoffman, a member of the horse science faculty.
Primary sponsors include Farm Credit Services and the National Cattleman’s Beef Association. Both contributed $5,000 or more. Nearly 40 other ag industry-related businesses, organizations, foundations or individuals provided funds.
About 30 of MTSU’s 40 active Block and Bridle Club members will attend the convention, said Carter. She added that the University’s Admissions Office will be a vendor to court potential students, particularly those considering the horse science master’s program.
Penn State, North Carolina State, Clemson, Auburn, Georgia, Washington State, North Dakota, Kentucky, Murray State, Texas Tech are among the universities sending club members, Carter said.
Trent Loos, a speaker, writer and radio/television personality in the agriculture world, will be the event’s keynote speaker Tuesday night.
— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)