Students in Wylie’s Agriculture Department had a very busy, and very successful, spring with four teams qualifying for state in FFA Career Development Events, and many students earning awards at ag mechanics shows and animal shows.
“We had a good year this year,” said senior Kauy Ostlien. “I am proud of us. You can look at all the work you do and wonder if it’s worth it, but when you achieve something, it’s the best feeling in the world. It makes the long nights and throwing your shoulder and your back out – it makes it worth it.”
Wylie’s Cotton Judging team finished 4th in the state out of 103 teams that earned a spot in FFA’s state competition. Team members were Hunter Harris, Kauy Ostlien, Bayleigh Smith and Shada Davis.
The Ag Mechanics Team finished 17th out of 37 teams at state; the Wool Judging team finished 31st out of 56 teams at state and the Livestock Judging team received 57th out of 95 teams. These competitions are extremely competitive. In fact, more than 2,000 teams across Texas competed in Livestock Judging trying to earn a spot in the prestigious state competition with only 95 getting to go to state.
Hannah Kay Kirby won the area championship in Wool Judging and made her third consecutive trip to state as part of the Wool Judging Team. She said she has learned a lot from the experience.
“I understand a lot more about the industry,” she said. “It’s definitely helping me fine-tune my skills for my career one day.”
Hannah also went to state in the fall in Creed Speaking and placed 4th out of 695 speakers. Plus she shows chickens, pigs and rabbits in the livestock shows.
“It teaches you a lot of lessons and responsibility,” she said of showing animals. “You give up other things to take care of your animal. There’s a lot of work that goes into it. It makes you more responsible.”
The livestock showing season kicked off with the Wylie show in December followed by the Taylor County show in January. Then many students travel to the state’s bigger shows, such as Fort Worth, San Antonio and Houston.
Ag teacher Cody Smith hauls the students’ animals to and from these big shows. He said participation has been growing by leaps and bounds, and consequently, the department purchased a new trailer for the ag department. The school paid for half the trailer and private donors paid the other half.
“It’s a versatile trailer that we can use to haul any species,” he said. “We geared it toward cattle because we have more and more students doing cattle. It’s been nice to be able to have it to help the kids transport their animals to shows.”
The Ag Mechanics program built a 16-foot utility trailer, a cooker and a fire pit to take to competitions this spring and brought home many awards.
The students also learned a lot in the process.
Senior Daylon Moore, who helped build the trailer, said ag mechanics competitions are very rewarding.
“The coolest part for me was starting with nothing and building the trailer,” he said. “Just seeing it come together – just starting with two pieces of metal. It’s pretty cool seeing it come together.”
Moore won an $8,000 scholarship by finishing 4th in a special competition at the Fort Worth Ag Mechanics Show and won Grand Champion in Judging at the Stephen F. Austin Show.
Ag mechanics shows require students to stand by their creations and talk about them to judges or anyone who is interested. Students must learn to speak to people about all the details of their creation.
“Before this year, I couldn’t speak at all,” said Austin Tucek who was also on the trailer team. “I would stumble a lot. It’s taught me a lot about speaking. It’s also taught me dedication, hard work and perseverance.”
Hunter Harris said Wylie FFA students become very close while traveling together to various competitions.
“This whole program is family,” he said. “The trips are fun, but you learn so much from it. A lot of these kids are learning things that they can use later in their life.”
Here’s a look at how Wylie students did in various competitions this spring:
Teams that qualified for state based on their area competition at area:
* Wool Judging Team: Hannah Kay Kirby (area individual champion), Morgan Woods, Kaylee Dickson and Avery Soto (5th individually at area).
* Livestock Judging Team: Kauy Ostlien, Hunter Harris (9th individually at area), Brooke Jones and Macie McMillion.
* Agriculture Mech Judging Team: Daylon Moore (9th individually at area), Austin Robinson, Ryan Copeland and Austin Tucek.
Judging teams that competed at area but didn’t make the cut for state were:
* Vet ScienceTeam: Avery Soto, Justin Larum, Juan Wylie and Valarie Herrera.
* Horse Team: Emma Belanger, Neikol Cruz, Tatum McFarland and John Harris. The team won Grand Champions of a contest at West Texas A&M.
* Floriculture Team: Preslee Woods, Coltyn Cook, Hannah K Kirby and Kaylee Dickson.
Utility Trailer Team: Austin Tucek, Austin Robinson, Hunter Harris and Daylon Moore – earned 1st in class at the Hill Country, San Angelo and Fort Worth shows and won Reserve Grand Champion trailer in both the San Angelo and Hill Country shows. Also earned Reserve Grand Champion Showmanship honors at the Hill Country Show.
Cooker Team: Anna Patterson, Allan Karr, Keaton Dillon and Britton Thornhill – earned 1st in class and Grand Champion Showmanship at the Hill Country Show.
42-inch Fire Pit: Clayton Whitefield, Brice Smith, Samantha Wilson and Lane Feemster – earned 1st in class and Reserve Grand Champion of the outdoor cooking division in San Angelo and qualified for the sale in San Antonio, where it went for $4,250.
See results of the Wylie Livestock Show online. Top performers at the Taylor County Show included:
Reserve Grand Champion poultry: Austin Petree
Cattle Senior Showmanship: Bayleigh Smith
Overall Grand Champion Steer: Bayleigh Smith
Senior Showmanship goats: Shae Nicholson
Overall Reserve Grand Champion Lamb: Dericka Vaughn
Grand Champion Single Rabbit: Nicole Luckie
Overall Grand Champion Swine: Ethan Arrington
Overall Reserve Champion Swine: Kylee Rodriguez
Leadership Development Events:
Sr. Chapter Conducting: Hannah Kay Kirby, Brooke Jones, Avery Soto, Macie McMillion, Kaylee Dickson, Morgan Woods, Payton Burns and Kauy Ostlien.
Radio Broadcasting (3rd in area): Hunter Harris, Brooke Jones and Tatum McFarland.
Sr. Creed Speaker: Hannah Kay Kirby was 1st in area and 4th at state.
Congratulations to all the Wylie Ag students for their hard work.