Texas’ official motto is “friendship.” And the state’s long drawn on its welcoming ways to attract tourism and convention crowds from all over.
One example of Texas hospitality is its event trust funds: the Major Events Trust Fund and the Events Trust Fund. (And that’s not counting the Motor Sports Events Trust Fund and the Special Events Trust Fund.)
The funds ostensibly exist to bring tax revenues and tourists to Texas, but some legislators question the funds’ use: three bills in the Texas Senate are requested more oversight for the funds. The move comes in response to allegations that the funds allow well-connected events and venues to misappropriate taxpayer dollars.
But while high profile events catch flack from lawmakers, not every fund recipient is spending cash on sweet, sweet Jumbotrons. Here’s five of the smaller, stranger events the state’s drawn in using its Events Trust Fund:
- The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society Annual Meeting 2013 ($299,859.00 from the Events Trust Fund)
This March metallurgists tested their professional mettle at San Antonio’s Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center over four days, with over close to 3,800 technical presentations and 330 workshops.
- Stampin’ Up! Annual Leadership Meeting 2012 ($121,952.00 from the Events Trust Fund)
San Antonio hosted the meeting of the head honchos from Stampin’ Up! – a company that offers more stamping and scrapbooking supplies than you can shake some cardstock at.
- American Miniature Horse Association World Championship Show 2012 ($79,413 from the Events Trust Fund)
The Miniature Horse Association, based in Alvarado, Texas, has been “proudly serving the small equine industry for 35 years.” Last year, horse owners and enthusiasts alike descended upon the Will Rogers Center in Fort Worth to enjoy a cavalcade of mini horses (below 34 inches) for a seven day-long event.
- Cushman Club of America National Meet 2013 ($48,719 from the Events Trust Fund)
For the uninitiated, Cushman is an American scooter maker in operation from 1936 to 1965. Club founder Bill Somerville held his first national meeting near St. Louis, Missouri in 1983 to unite lovers of the rare scooters. This year the club will celebrate their 30th anniversary with a national meeting in Abilene. Texas.
- United States Specialty Sports Association, Hispanic Slowpitch World Tournament 2012 ($34,799.00 from the Events Trust Fund)
The state pitched the USSSA to bring the slow-pitchin’ softballers to Brownsville last year. The competition mainly featured Texas competitors, with the Olmito Heat taking the crown last October in the fall softball classic.
Of course, Austin’s no stranger to event money either. The state approved over $32 million in funds from the trusts this fiscal year for the Formula 1 Grand Prix, the V8 Supercars 400 and the Moto Grand Prix later this month.
Interested in digging deeper? Here's the complete list of events.