Cotton and football. A bit like salt and pepper: each unique on its own and yet the perfect combination when used together.
Saturday, Sept. 15, Texas Tech University joined forces with the cotton industry to host the seventh annual Celebrate Cotton Game at Lubbock, Texas. Fans were encouraged to wear white shirts made of 100 percent cotton, to whiteout Jones AT&T Stadium when the Texas Tech Red Raiders took on the University of Houston Cougars.
“It was cotton’s day,” says Steve Verett, Plains Cotton Growers executive vice president, who says the cotton message seemed to be everywhere at this year’s event. “From the social media to having the U.S. Farm Report here on Friday to the signs stuck in the ground near the stadium with fun facts about cotton and its importance, we were really pleased with how well it all turned out. It was really good.”
For cotton producers, Verett says he hopes the event gave them a sense of pride. “I hope the cotton producers who came to the game, and maybe didn't even know much about this, felt the same way we did when they saw all of the importance placed on their own industry and what they do.”
See Photo Gallery, Texas Tech fans whiteout the stadium to celebrate cotton
Celebrate Cotton began Wednesday, Sept. 12, with a golf scramble at the Texas Tech Rawls Course, followed by a runway show, “Cotton: The Natural Choice,” Thursday at the South Plains Mall, with assistance from students in the Texas Tech Retail Management Program. Friday, as farming equipment was being parked around the stadium, the U.S. Farm Report and AgriTalk College Road Show, aired live from the southwest corner of Jones AT&T Stadium, discussing cotton and research efforts within the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at the university.
While Celebrate Cotton is primarily about cotton, Verett says it also highlights the symbiotic relationship between Texas Tech and agriculture, but specifically cotton — how both are dependent upon each other. “I hope producers, but also the general public, got a feeling for what cotton means to Texas Tech and what Texas Tech means to this agricultural region, as well.”
The pinnacle of the celebration was held Saturday at the football stadium complete with farming and cotton equipment on display around the perimeter, tailgate parties hosted by the agricultural industry and cotton bales labeled with facts about the natural fiber inside the stadium near the concession stands.
Prior to kickoff, a video featuring cotton production and its importance, not only on the South Plains, but to the world, was displayed on the Texas Tech jumbotron, along with the Celebrate Cotton corporate sponsors taking the field.
Celebrate Cotton was sponsored by: Plains Cotton Growers, Ag Texas, BASF, FiberMax Cotton, City Bank, Nutrien Ag Solutions, Netafim, Croplan, Cavender's and NexGen.
The Red Raiders defeated the Houston Cougars 63 to 49.