BLUEFFORD G. HANCOCK
THE FIRST TEXAS STATE PECAN SHOW, held in 1950, had less than 30 entries, sent in by above five exhibitors. County pecan shows, as we know them today, began in 1952. Eastland County, under guidance of J. M. Cooper, county agent, held the first show, followed shortly by Guadalupe, Travis and San Saba counties. The county shows sponsored jointly by the local growers and the county Extension agents have increased in number until there were 23 in 1965. There likely will be 23 to 25 in 1966. These county shows have been of real value in many ways:
1. Serve as one of the main annual educational functions of the County Pecan Growers Association.
2. Focus attention on adapted high quality pecan varieties and on new USDA varieties and breeding lines.
3. Promote interest in a sound pecan production program.
4. Display to consumers (through the bake shows) the excellent ways to use the pecan as a food.
A scene at the record-breaking 1,027-entry in 1965 Texas State Pecan Show pictures something of its magnitude. The show filled the ballroom at the Memorial Student Center on the Texas A&M University campus.
The great interest built by county pecan shows has resulted in a tremendous and steadily increasing growth of the Texas State Pecan Show. In the 1965 State Pecan Show, there were 1027 entries---mainly winners from county shows. It took almost a full week to process (sort, weigh, crack, shell and re-weigh) these entries and over 30 people assisted with this work. It requires a great amount of space to exhibit these entries. For the past year or so, the opinion of those working directly with the shows has been that the over-all operation of the Texas State Pecan Show needed to be revised.
After careful study, the Pecan Show Committee of the Texas Pecan Growers Association made the following recommendations to the Officers and Directors of this organization.
1. Encourage expansion of the county pecan shows. These shows are the foundation of our total pecan educational program.
2. Initiate three large regional pecan shows at larger cities to gain more recognition and publicity of our quality pecan program.
The three show sites for 1966 are San Antonio, Fort Worth and Abilene.
3. Send winning entries from county pecan shows to regional. Open entries would be accepted at regional from growers who have no pecan show in their county.
4. Send regional entries from regional shows to Texas A&M University to be stored under freezing conditions. (0⁰ F. to -10⁰ F.).
5. Hold the Texas State Pecan Show in July at Annual Texas Pecan Growers Conference. The statistics on nut weight and kernel percentage for each entry obtained at regional shows would be used in judging the State show. No open entries will be accepted at the Texas State Pecan Show.
6. Select the Texas Pecan Queen on the basis of poise, personality and beauty. Every county with a grower association is eligible to sponsor a queen contestant.
7. Present three championship awards as follow: Champion---Inshell Pecans named variety; Champion---Shelled Pecans named variety; Champion---Native Pecans.
Half of the cost of awards for qualifying county pecan shows will be borne by the Texas Pecan Growers Association through commercial sponsors and by the county. To qualify for awards, a county must have a pecan grower’s organization which sponsors the show and must have a minimum of 100 creditable pecan entries in its show.
The Officers and Directors of the Texas Pecan Growers Association in consultation with the State Pecan Show Committee will review for acceptance or approval all awards the regional and state Shows.
With the expanding growth and interest in pecan shows, great progress is being made in our pecan educational program. We have one common goal---do everything we can in developing a program to promote Texas pecans.