Wednesday, February 21, 2024

TCGA Rebrands Annual Show

Expanded Outreach Aims To Include Gins And Visitors From All Across The Cotton Belt

The Texas Cotton Ginners’ Association will host its 116th gin show April 4-5 in Lubbock at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center. Aaron Nelsen, TCGA special projects and communications manager, recently sat down with Cotton Farming magazine to discuss the Association’s history and its plan to rebrand the show going forward. The goal is to reach out to gins all across the Cotton Belt and enhance the show experience for both attendees and exhibitors.

You can peruse Cotton Farming’s questions and Nelsen’s answers below to learn more about TCGA’s plan to showcase the diverse slate of exhibitors and enhance the TCGA Gin Show experience for everyone.

Q: How long has the TCGA Gin Show been in existence?

A: In 2007, TCGA celebrated 100 years. The organization was formed in 1897. I am going to assume the first convention was held that year. The Association disbanded in 1901 over the controversy of round bales versus square bales. However, ginner groups continued to meet at the local level. In July 1909, the present day TCGA was formed. In 1943, the TCGA convention was cancelled due to the war. The convention resumed in 1947. To my knowledge, there was an annual TCGA convention held every year until 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down just about everything. The show was cancelled in 2021 as well due to issues caused by the lingering pandemic. The show resumed in 2022.

As a side note, all conventions were held in Dallas until 1978 when the convention moved to Lubbock. It returned to Dallas in 1979 for one year. From 1980 forward, the convention has been in Lubbock. In the years prior to 1980, cotton production began to migrate from South and Central Texas to the High Plains. Manufacturing soon followed, thus leading to the change in location for the convention. We will be promoting this as our 116th show.   

Q: Give me a brief history of how and why the TCGA Gin Show was initiated.

A: The Association was formed by this concept… Through collective discussion, ginners worked to find solutions to their common problems. An annual convention created an event for ginners to come together and accomplish this. It only made sense that this convention would include a venue for the industry to come together under one roof that would allow manufacturers access to ginners to showcase new ideas.

Q: The decision was made during the past year to rebrand the TCGA Gin Show. What prompted this thought?

A: Our leadership directed us to re-form the exhibitor advisory committee. The committee’s purpose is to keep Association officers and staff advised of the interests of allied industry that take part in the TCGA Gin Show and to make recommendations on how to improve the event. This committee recommended that we rebrand the show and send out show notices to all gins in the United States, as opposed to just our member gins. 

Q: What does rebranding the event accomplish?

A: Rebranding is an effort to market our gin show in a way that is more inclusive to all the gins in the United States. We hope this will enhance the show experience for attendees and exhibitors alike.

Q: What is the new slogan for the TCGA Gin Show? 

A: TCGA Gin Show – The Cotton Belt Gin Connection

Most of our outreach in past years has been to our membership in Texas. That will continue, but we will step up our effort in reaching out to all gins across the Cotton Belt. In giving the show a new name, we want to emphasize this is a “gin show” open to ginners across the Belt.

Q: What updates/changes/experiences will exhibitors offer attendees?

A: Rebranding the show and reaching out to a broader audience is in play for the 2024 show.

Q: Describe the different types of exhibitors who will participate in the TCGA Gin Show. What does this diversity add to the visitors’ experience at the TCGA Gin Show?

A: First and foremost, this is a cotton gin show that includes all the major players in the manufacturing of gin machinery. Our show focuses on meeting the needs of the U.S. cotton ginning industry.

In addition to gin machinery, we have insurance providers, suppliers of parts and supplies for cotton gins, energy suppliers and vendors that assist gins with finding workers and complying with worker protection rules. We also have exhibitors who provide buildings for the gins and for the workers, as well as a few cottonseed, irrigation and other related products. 

The scope of our exhibitors goes much further — other cotton organizations, implements, cottonseed, irrigation, radio, caps and t-shirts and museums just to name a few.

Q: Describe how the TCGA Gin Show’s agenda will be influenced by the rebranding. Any new additions/changes to the program?

A: I want to caution everyone not to expect wholesale changes. We renamed the show, giving it more of a Beltwide feel. We also have some new artwork that Cotton Farming magazine developed for us. The graphic is designed to go along with the new name and will become a symbol of the TCGA Gin Show. The second thing we are doing is increasing our promotion across the Cotton Belt. The goals for the upcoming show are a new look and a broader audience. Through the committee, new ideas will continue over time. In time, I think guest speakers could be part of the program. However, we must maintain our focus that this is a show focused on the needs of cotton ginners. 

Q: Can you provide a “sneak peek” of what visitors might expect?

A: I expect a very friendly and welcoming atmosphere at our show in Lubbock. We are early in the process of determining the exhibitors who will be back and who some of the new ones might be. As that process moves forward, a sneak peek might be more attainable.

Q: With attendees coming to Lubbock from all over the country to attend the TCGA Gin Show, what can they expect as far as the airport, transportation, hotels and other pertinent amenities.

A: I think people will find Lubbock very easy to navigate, including the airport. Most hotels provide shuttle service to and from the airport. Per capita, Lubbock probably has the best highway system in Texas. There are many great restaurants and plenty of entertainment throughout the Hub city. The Overton Hotel & Conference Center will serve as the host hotel. The show itself will take place at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center. TCGA will have room blocks with several hotels near the Convention Center. Information will be available at www.tcga.org. We plan to mail a flyer to all cotton gins in the United States regarding the show. We plan to send the flyer electronically as well.

Q: Anything else that you would like to mention?

A: I hope ginners across the Cotton Belt will give serious consideration to making the trip to Lubbock for our show. This is a great venue for ginners to come together and seek solutions to problems impacting the industry. Much work goes into an event like this one. I hope the cotton industry will take full advantage of the TCGA Gin Show and come see us April 4-5. 

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