GARRISON, TX (KTRE) - The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (HLSR) is devoted to helping Texas youth pay for a college education. It awards millions of dollars in scholarships each year.
Volunteers from all over East Texas help out by serving on the 'Go Texan' committees. Area Go Texan volunteers know all about HLSR's commitment to the state's youth.
"The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo has committed $265-million in scholarships," shared Marvin Martin, Go Texan District VI chairman.
Garrison's Colt Gresham was awarded $15,000 dollars of that money last year as the Nacogdoches County Go Texan scholarship recipient. The county has participated in the program for more than 20 years. To date, it has provided almost a half a million dollars in local scholarships.
"I took as many college courses as I could. Went to as many shows. Got involved as much as I could in order to receive this scholarship," said Gresham.
Now the State Future Farmers of America (FFA) vice president is traveling to fairs, rodeos and schools promoting FFA participation, but always adding Go Texan scholarships aren't just for ag majors.
"FFA used to be described as 'sows, plows and cows'," laughed Gresham. "Not anymore. It's more technology, more science, the leadership aspect. Used to it was all about raising cows and farming and what not. Now it's more the leadership aspect."
Martin oversees Go Texan committees in six East Texas counties. "Each county will get one scholarship for $16,000 for 2011," said Martin. In all, 60 counties across the state participate in the Go Texan program to attract scholarships.
Go Texan committees promote the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and participate in events, including the HLSR barbeque cook off. Teams will compete Feb. 24-26 in Houston. Last year, the Nacogdoches County Go Texans won the best dessert.
The trips and competitions are expensive, so fund raisers like Friday night's (Feb. 11) Go Texan dance in Nacogdoches are held.
"It's at Banita Creek Hall. Band starts at 8. It's fun," said Robert Templin, a Go Texan ambassador. "It's just a fundraiser. It's one of our major fund raisers each year. We would love for everybody to come out."
Colt will be in San Antonio for a state FFA event, but he has this to say to anyone who attends. " Thank you. Keep supporting because students like us, we need ya'll."