RAPID CITY, S.D. — Excitement is building among Future Farmers of America members as the annual convention is only days away, and for the first time, they’ll be gathering West River.
A group of students gathered at the James Kjerstad Event Center in preparation of the annual state FFA Convention. It begins April 11th, and to the relief of nearly 1,600 students across the state, it will be held in person. Although, for the first time in its history it will be held in Rapid City, as opposed to Brookings, South Dakota.
“The excitement of being involved, and seeing that sea of blue when the session starts Sunday night, and you see everybody across and walking out,” said state FFA secretary Hunter Eide. “Wow, oh my gosh, there are so many people who are like me, that are passionate about same things as me and want to spark a change.”
There will be a few changes to the event, such as mandatory mask wearing, but there are some exciting changes. Western Dakota Tech will be hosting different sessions at the university, and several in-person competitions will be returning.
“We’re gonna have CDE, which is career development event competitions, where our FFA members are able to compete on hands on working different contests and they’re able to vie for a chance to earn a trip to nationals at our national FFA convention,” said state FFA sentinel, Ryder Mortenson. “So our state winners will be able to do that.”
For university freshman who missed their senior convention, they are excited to give of their time to meet and speak with younger FFA members and to see the awards ceremony in person.
“So, I‘m excited to get to meet everybody, this is one of the first opportunities we can meet a lot of the chapters,” said Eide. “So, get to talk to them. Whether it’s at the day of service or the career carnival on Monday. It’s a great opportunity to just to get to talk to them, see what they’ve been going through, what they’re competing in, what their background and story is.”
“It’s one thing to be recognized over a screen, over online, and it’s another thing to see that persons face light up on a stage in person,” said Mortenson. “So, just making that real aspect and feeling in the moment, and having that awarding satisfaction that our FFA members are gonna have in that person. And you get to hear the crowd erupt.”
Mortenson also said it’s a great way for FFA members from across the state to see what their friends have been up to and accomplished over the past year. The convention runs from April 11 – 13 at the Central States Fairgrounds.
The convention will be aired live Sunday through Tuesday on ConnectCenter1 on digital channel 21.2.