Local student in Rose Bowl parade

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 14, 2009

Carrie Hofner, a Rowan County resident and the 2009/2010 President of the North Carolina FFA, will participate in the 121st Tournament of Roses Parade Jan. 1, in Pasadena, Calif. as part of the first ever national FFA organization’s float in the New Year’s Day event.
Hofner, along with FFA presidents from all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, will carry the state flag and march with the 75-foot float before an expected crowd of more than 1 million on site and an international television audience estimated to be in excess of 42 million in the U.S. and another 100 million-plus in 82 countries worldwide.
In addition to appearing in the parade, Hofner, in teamwork with the other state presidents, the national officer team and the Stars Over America winners, will help decorate the FFA float in the days leading up to the parade and take part in numerous events surrounding the Rose Bowl football game. All presidents have been invited to bring an agricultural product from their state to place on the float.
“I am so proud to represent North Carolina and our fellow FFA members in this history-making effort to take the message around the world through the unique platform provided by the Tournament of Roses Parade,” Hofner said in a press release. “This will truly be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
Titled FFA Today, the float, which will be one of the largest in the Rose Parade, depicts the wide range of educational opportunities and careers available to FFA members, while at the same time honoring traditional agriculture. The float’s construction and all costs associated with bringing the FFA members and support staff to California, are being fully underwritten by RFD-TV, which will also be broadcasting the Tournament of Roses Parade “live” on New Year’s morning beginning at 8 a.m. PST. An “FFA Cam” will be employed on the float and be a part of the RFD-TV broadcast, covering the reaction of the crowd and FFA members as the float makes its way down the 5.5 mile long parade route.
Hofner is also scheduled to appear in a one-hour television special, the “Making of the FFA Float,” which will precede RFD-TV’s “live” coverage hosted by Crook & Chase on New Year’s morning. RFD-TV will then repeat the entire three-hour broadcast immediately following the conclusion of the Rose Parade on New Year’s Day. RFD-TV is distributed on DIRECTV channel 345, DISH Network channel 231 and on local cable throughout the state.
“When the Rose Parade announced this year’s theme, “A Cut Above The Rest,” we knew this would be the perfect opportunity to showcase the FFA and America’s premier youth organization,” said Patrick Gottsch, founder and president of RFD-TV. “This float was designed to represent the more than 506,000 members and more than eight million FFA alumni.
“We hope that everyone will identify with something depicted on the float and feel they are walking down Colorado Avenue with these state presidents. This is part of RFD-TV’s continuing effort to reconnect city folks with country people again, while creating more of an understanding and respect for where and how food and fiber is produced.”