The Wylie Ag Mechanics Team had an amazing spring winning Grand Champion honors in their divisions at both the San Antonio and Houston ag mechanic shows and taking Reserve Grand Champion of their division in San Angelo.
The Houston Agriculture Mechanics Show is the biggest show of its kind in the world, making the Grand Champion honors particularly impressive.
“These students put in lots of time and lots of hard work to receive such high honors,” says Wylie Ag Teacher Dustin Moore. “I would personally like to say thank you to every student involved for their hard work and dedication. It takes some amazing students and very dedicated students to accomplish such a task.”
The students showed a 20-foot bumper-pull utility trailer that they built from scratch in the Ag Mechanics class.
“I knew it would be great,” said Ty Bertrand, a senior who served on the trailer show team. “But the success we’ve had, it was astounding. I am very proud at how we did with it.”
The students built the trailer and a fire pit in their class, working on the projects all year. Although all the students in the class work on both projects, the students who spend the most time are chosen to be on the show team and travel to the competitions.
Hunter Stephenson, a senior who also was on the trailer show team, said the class literally started from scratch on the projects.
“There’s just a big pile of metal,” he said. You just plan it out and start with your design. You figure out who is good at cutting, and who is good at fitting. I am good at cutting stuff, but we work really well as a team.”
Some of the students put in many extra hours outside of class to get the trailer completed in time for show season.
“During our Christmas Break we put in I don’t know how many hours – it’s kind of ridiculous how much work goes into these,” said Breanna Conlee, a junior who also showed the trailer.
Breanna said that Moore is a huge help to the students.
“We go to him every step of the way and ask if this is right,” she said. “He’s kind of like our father at this point in the year.”
Once the projects are complete, the show teams take them to competitions. The projects are judged not only on how well they are built, but also on how knowledgeable the students are about the project.
At the shows, the students will stand by their trailer for 10-12 hours a day, talking about it and telling people how it is constructed.
“A lot of it is student knowledge,” Hunter said. “If you can show it and publicly speak on what you did, you are going to do well. We knew all our stuff. We did everything by hand. We were there for all the processes. A lot of it is being there for building it. If you were involved in building it, it’s pretty easy to show.”
Logan Dick, a senior who also is on the team, said at some point during the competition, the judges will show up and the students must talk to them about the trailer.
“You never know when you are going to be judged, so you have to be on point,” he said. “Whenever you get judged multiple times, that means you did well. At Houston, they actually judged us five times. We were pretty excited.”
The students beat hundreds and hundreds of other projects, including semi-trailers, a grain elevator, all different kinds of farm equipment and much more. The Houston show had more than 700 entries.
In addition to winning plaques and banners, the students won hundreds of dollars worth of equipment for the school machine shop, including welding equipment, tools, shop lights and much more. The students also won $12,000 in scholarship money at the San Antonio show.
The students say they learned a great deal from working on the projects and from showing them.
“I’ve definitely learned a lot of leadership,” Breanna said. “I learned a lot of teamwork. We have a lot of fun on the ag trips. It’s something all of us look forward to.”
Ty, Logan and Hunter will all be attending Tarleton State University next fall, and thanks to their success at the ag shows, they will have a little financial help.
“Ag taught me a lot and now it’s helped me go to college,” Logan said. “I don’t know what more you can ask for than that.”