Cattlemen leave Nashville celebrating convention, mourning loss - WKRN News 2

Cattlemen leave Nashville celebrating convention, mourning loss

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Nashville International Airport (BNA) was brimming with cowboy hats Friday morning. Most of them were atop cattle farmers heading home from a week-long convention and trade show.

The 2014 Cattle Industry Annual Convention (CIAC) and NCBA Trade Show were held at Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center February 4-7. The event attracted more than 9,000 members, families, and associates of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA).

"A lot of people love what they do and care about it and want to see it continue," Todd Ballentine, of Nebraska, said of the big turnout.

"I think, for the livestock industry, it's a good place to get around and meet people in your circle and then we use it as sort of a vacation, too, but it's very informative and a great time," said Tyler Rindal of Oklahoma.

As in years past, the convention and trade show offered networking and education opportunities through work sessions and exhibits.

Richard Phillips, captain of the U.S. vessel hijacked by Somali pirates in 2009, and Archie Manning, former All-American and NFL star athlete, were among the guest speakers. 

Attendees also enjoyed several entertainment events in town.

The end of the convention meant long lines at the airport, prompting airport officials to release a travel alert to warn ticket-holders of potential delays at check-in desks and security checkpoints.

In comparison, the beginning of the convention had a much bigger impact.

On Monday, a private plane en route to the convention crashed next to the Bellevue YMCA.  Glenn Mull and three family members were onboard. All were killed.

Mull, a Kansas native, was well-known in the beef industry.

"A lot of people knew them and sure felt [it was a] pretty tragic event. Everybody is kind of reaching out for 'em and wishing everybody the best through kind a tough time," Ballentine said.

"The Ag family is small in the United States, very small. You know who they are and you just hate to lose a member who's pretty decent people," said Rindal.

His wife, Susan Rindal, added, "Very special moment at the Opry last night, Diamond Rio dedicated the song "One More Day" to the family and had pictures. It was very tear-jerking. Great moment."

The Grand Ole Opry performance on Thursday night was one of the last scheduled events for convention attendees before they packed their bags to return home to get back to work.

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