It's being called a citywide sellout: hotels and motels are sold out through Friday as thousands of Future Farmers of America attend the 77th Annual FFA Convention right here in Lubbock.
9,000 visitors will be in the Hub City for four days starting Tuesday, and every one of the visitors will help give Lubbock a two million dollar economic boost.
They come in singles, pairs and by the dozens, proudly wearing their blue corduroy FFA jackets. At the convention, they learn leadership skills and outside of it, they spend money.
Rice Consolidated student, Bernadette Jurica said, "we're probably going bowling."
Colorado City student, Kelly Morris said, "I want to go ride go-carts."
Convention & Visitors Bureau Executive Director, Marcy Jarrett said 9,000 visitors will spend over $2 million at local restaurants, hotels, and of course, the mall. "When they're not in meetings, they're shopping and eating. Shopping and eating, that's what they do all the time," said Jarrett.
The reason the FFA convention can come to Lubbock is the United Spirit Arena. "That's what brought it to Lubbock, so we have Texas Tech to thank!" said Jarrett.
The Arena is the only place in Lubbock large enough to house the event. "The FFA convention is the biggest convention Lubbock has held to this point," said Jarrett.
The economic impact is comparable to a home football game. It's so big, in fact, that Durham FFA members are staying at the Texas Tech dorms because all hotels are sold out.
While it may be hard for the members to find a place to sleep, it isn't hard to find a place to spend money. "I just want to buy a lot of stuff!" said Colorado City student Whitney Merket.
Jarrett said the event could set the stage for more major conventions to take place in Lubbock.
The Convention and Visitors Bureau spent five years working to bring the convention to Lubbock, one incentive they offered was paying the $43,000 rental fee for the United Spirit Arena. But according to Jarrett, the $2 million profit far outweighs that fee.
FFA Convention Bittersweet for One Officer
Any member will tell you, Future Farmers of America is about more than agriculture and farm animals. NewsChannel 11 found it's also about leadership, success, and a very special bond.