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4-H Roundup kicks off in Lubbock for first time

Published: Monday, June 11, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 21:07

State 4-H Roundup began Monday — and for the first time in its 66-year history, it wasn’t in College Station. Instead, 4-Hers from around Texas flocked to Lubbock to showcase their food, fashion and method demonstrations at the state competition.

Texas 4-H Roundup includes approximately 50 different contests and workshops that test members on life skills in areas such as public speaking, decision making and working with others, according to the Texas 4-H website.

“For about five years now we’ve had a number of individuals and universities from around the South Plains area — where we have a number of 4-H youth — trying to get 4-H moved to another location,” Kyle Merten, Texas 4-H Roundup director, said. “It’s really taken around five years for us to even consider it, and about two years to plan everything.”

Merten said many 4-Hers support the move from College Station to Lubbock.

“I think in the beginning there were some people who were disappointed, but I think with the changes and new opportunities that were available, there was excitement,” he said. “We’ve had the largest pre-registration we’ve ever had, so I think everyone’s excited to come.”

He said 4-H Roundup will be back at Texas A&M University in 2013, however.

“This is strictly a trial year, we’re just going to be here in 2012,” Merten said. “We’ll be back on campus at A&M next year. This is something to help us determine if moving to other universities is something we can even do.”

Merten said the move is similar to what Future Farmers of America has done, in which the convention is rotated each year to different locations around Texas, including Dallas and San Antonio.

“[The move] is really based on allowing us to get some better collaboration with other universities,” Merten said. “That’s one of the biggest things we’re looking at, we already have very strong connections with some faculty here at Texas Tech, and we wanted to just explore those options a little.”

Ammie Lou Grimes, a Roundup volunteer and former participant, said she enjoyed the move.

“I love having it here because I’m a Texas Tech alum,” Grimes said. “I attended Roundup many years. I couldn’t believe that it had been moved from A&M to Texas Tech but I love having Tech involved in all of t
hese things.”

Merten said Texas A&M faculty still assisted with the planning and implementation of 4-H Roundup.

“Of course A&M is always a part of what we do, because we’re part of the A&M System and we have faculty members there who help us out,” he said.

Merten said the biggest disadvantage to holding Roundup at Lubbock was the distance required for planning.

“When you’re used to doing things for 65 years at the same place, you get pretty comfortable in what you do,” Merten said. “We’re based out of College Station, so the planning part can be a little tricky when you’re seven hours away from the event, but the thing that has been most beneficial for us is the new people who have helped us put it on.”

Merten said Lubbock also helped ease the transition of moving Roundup to a new location.

“The city of Lubbock has been phenomenal in working with us,” he said. “They have offered us some incentive programs in room nights; they’ve worked with us to get discounts on hotels for our students. They’ve also helped with advertising. We’ve got seven billboards up that are welcoming in students from around the state.”

Roundup partnered with other universities to help host the event, including San Angelo State University, West Texas A&M and, of course, Texas Tech.

“This is a one-shot for everybody to have the opportunity to move around, so everyone wants it to be a success,” Merten said. “Our main goal is just to see that the youth in our program have the opportunity to see other universities around Texas, because we have a strong population throughout the state, not just in
College Station.”


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