Bobby Irwin national FFA talent winner
Posted Wednesday, November 3, 2021 6:56 pm
By Larry Tucker
Lucas Oil Stadium is normally the home of the Indianapolis Colts. This past week at the National FFA Convention, Quitman’s Bobby Irwin owned the stage in front of 57,000 people as he won his way to first place in the talent contest against engaging performers from across the nation.
Irwin’s epic performance of “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen sent the excited FFA delegates into constant chants of echoing his name across the massive indoor arena.
Irwin made the long journey back to Quitman Saturday and was greeted in the evening by an escort making its way to the courthouse where at least 150 people welcomed the victorious talent winner home.
“It was a surprise to come home and see so many people there to welcome me home,” Irwin said. “I really appreciate all the folks who have supported me.”
Irwin went through local and state contests to reach the national finals. Irwin already has several singles out and has played to packed houses wherever he gets to play. He has played festivals and night clubs throughout East Texas.
Irwin got his first guitar from grandfather Joe Jones when he was 11. Irwin credits Jones as one of his inspirations in making music. Irwin had done a version of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man” in earlier competition in honor of Jones. “That was my Papa’s favorite song and that is why I like to do it,” Irwin noted. “My Papa played bass in a family band. They played locally and at a lot of VFWs.”
Irwin started playing professionally and doing shows at age 16.
He has another important person in his life, his grandmother, Shirley Irwin. The song “Hallelujah” is sung as a tribute to her. “I started doing the song as a tribute to my grandmother who passed away a few years ago,” Irwin said.
In his shows, Irwin does his version of “House of the Rising Sun” because of friend Josh Lambert. “I choose to play ‘House of the Rising Sun’ because when Josh and I were kids we were sitting on my bed and I played it. Josh told me then I was going to play that on a big stage one day for lots of people,” Irwin recalled.
Irwin got started in FFA at Quitman High School. “I took an ag class and got interested in all the things they were doing and I got involved in doing the talent competition,” Irwin said.
Irwin has played for many people, but nothing like the crowd at Lucas Oil Stadium. “It was crazy. There were a lot of people there. Most everybody there was involved with FFA,” Irwin commented. “FFA has taught me about friendships, staying humble and building character.”
Irwin has been working on another project titled “Jamie.” This one is in honor of the late Jamie Clavelle Pollard, the mother of his good friend Marcus Pollard.
Irwin has immediate plans to get back on the road to share his style of Texas music. “We are hoping to hit the road here pretty soon in the Austin and Houston areas to get our name out there a little more,” Irwin stated.
It remains to be seen just how far Irwin will go, but the future looks bright for Quitman’s rising star.