Is the Colorado FFA Foundation’s “Meat and Greet” event name outstanding, or what? At this first-ever fundraiser, guests learned that people surrounding the Colorado Future Farmers of America not only have a sense of humor, but they can party till…wait for it…the cows come home.

Current Miss Rodeo Colorado Kelsie Winslow (right), with Alex Hyland, Lady-In-Waiting (2018 Miss Rodeo Colorado)

On Thursday, Nov. 16, nearly 300 guests of all ages converged inside the Stadium Arena on the grounds of the National Western Complex. Whether they were genuine cowboy-country folks or 100-percent city slickers, everyone happily indulged in delectable small plates at stations featuring Colorado beef, pork, lamb and goat raised by FFA and 4-H families. The four culinary teams were guided by local top chefs: Chris Meier, Occasions Denver; Christopher Moore, The Club at Ravenna; Klaus Krebs, Isle Casino and Hotel Black Hawk; and competition winner Mike Van Trabert, National Western Complex executive chef. Guests also had the unique opportunity to interact with 12 young exhibitors-to-be at the 2018 National Western Stock Show, along with their superb animals. Loose Change added to the fun, entertaining with live music.

The beef station was a natural assignment for chefs and reps from National Western Complex’s “Beef Palace,” led by executive chef Mike Van Trabert.

The post-dinner program featured a video highlighting young FFA entrepreneurs and future agriculturalists. In the video and in live exhibitor interviews, guests learned about the extensive time and effort it takes to prepare an animal for a livestock show. Guests also learned that not all FFA members live in rural areas, but include some city-dwellers who might own a dog or cat, and have an interest in FFA activities. Speakers also pointed out that FFA focuses not only on agricultural activities, but on developing positive personal attributes.

A livestock parade allowed guests to see the 12 exhibitors and their animals, and they had 12 opportunities to bid on a “Behind the Scenes Experience” with one youngster as he or she prepares for the National Western Stock Show in January. High bidders will get to know the exhibitor and animal with activities leading up to and during the NWSS, including lunch at The National Western Club, drinks in the Cowboy Bar and a “ringside” experience. Colorado FFA Executive Director Don Thorn and board chairman Ed Cordes also addressed the crowd with remarks during the program.

These two will be at the National Western Stock Show in January.

The Colorado FFA Foundation seeks resources – human, financial and in-kind – to support agricultural education in Colorado, including students (FFA, ATA and CYFEA), teachers (CVATA) and alumni. In 1983, a group of volunteers organized the Colorado FFA Foundation to provide a strong support system for the Colorado FFA Association and its student members. In 1989, the Foundation was incorporated as a non-profit entity and began actively seeking funds to support Colorado Team Ag Ed and its members by funding leadership development, personal growth and career success activities, events and scholarships. In the past five years, the Foundation has raised and invested more than $500,000 in Colorado’s young people. For more information, please visit: ColoradoFFAFoundation.org.