More than 300 members of the Block and Bridle organization will be in Ames this week for the 93rd Block and Bridle National Convention.

Iowa State has one of the largest Block and Bridle clubs in the nation and will be host to the event for the first time ever.

“The national convention is a chance to have different Block and Bridle students from across the country come to one location and participate in tours, workshops and networking events,” said Kristin Liska, junior in animal science and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Student Council representative.

The event will begin on Thursday, April 4, 2013, and conclude Saturday evening.

President Steven Leath will open the event on Thursday with a speech. The first night also includes a Pride of Schools event, where all participating programs showcase what is unique about their school.

"This year the theme is ‘Feed the Need, Ignite the Future.’ Our goal for this convention is to prepare the animal science students to have them become advocates for their industry,” Liska said.

Brady Zuck, senior in animal science and the president of ISU Block and Bridle, said there will be about 350 members from 33 other schools along with approximately 60 students from Iowa State.

The National Convention will be hosted at the Quality Inn and Suites Starlite Village Conference Center.

“We are extremely excited about this three-day event," Zuck said. “At the national convention the national business meeting is held, with representatives from each school in attendance. During convention, students from other schools experience the agriculture of the hosting state.”

Zuck said that the banquet held at the end of the event will announce  national awards from the organization.

Friday, April 5, includes the Pride of Iowa tours that will give the guests a taste of the state.

“These tours will showcase some of Iowa’s different agriculture aspects,” Liska said. “Some of the stops we will be making is at TransOva Genetics, Templeton Rye, Kent Feeds, Iowa Select Farms and Pioneer Livestock Nutrition Center.”

A concert will be held on Friday evening and Saturday is a workshop day.

The workshops include skills training for participants, and some seminars on how to get a job and prepare for a career in the agriculture industry.

“We began planning for this national convention over a year ago,” Zuck said.“The committee originally selected a location, chose a theme and a date for the convention. Then sponsors were contacted and the committee began planning the Pride of Iowa tours.”

Block and Bridle has the goal of promoting “higher scholastic standard and a more complete understanding of animal science among student members,” according to its website. 

Both Zuck and Liska are looking forward to showing off Iowa State's club and the university during this big event.

“I am looking forward to a successful showcasing of Iowa State University, the state of Iowa and our club to other members from across the nation,” Zuck said. “As one of the top Block and Bridle Clubs in the nation, we have a lot to be proud of.”

Liska is determined show everything Iowa has to offer at the convention. 

“When many people think of Iowa, they think of pigs and corn,” Liska said. “With the tours, we can show that there is a lot more to Iowa than pigs and corn.”

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