The Wylie Agriculture Mechanics Team had another great show season, earning two Grand Champion awards, a Reserve Grand Champion award and a handful of blue ribbons at some of the top ag shows in the state.
The team built a trailer, a fire pit and a gun cabinet to show at the competitions, and while all three earned blue ribbons, the trailer took home Grand Champion honors at both San Angelo and San Antonio and was Reserve Grand Champion at the prestigious Houston show.
“The trailer that beat us in Houston, we beat at San Angelo and San Antonio,” said Wylie junior Kade Dickson. “It’s judges’ preference.”
Kade along with Breanna Conlee, Hannah Harbison and Mason Woods split $12,000 in scholarship money earned at the San Antonio stock show. They also brought home tons of shop equipment, tool sets and welding equipment that will be used in the Wylie Ag Mechanics classes.
Breanna, a senior, said the team spent 338 hours building the trailer from scratch.
“We worked on it after school — usually on Mondays we’d work to 8 or 9,” she said. “Once shows get closer, we stayed several nights of the week and a lot of weekends.”
Mason, also a senior, said many other students in the Ag Mechanics class helped with the trailer, a project that requires a lot of teamwork. He said each of the four main team members had his or her specific role, although everyone pitched in when needed.
“I fabricated a lot of the parts,” he said. “Breanna cut the metal, and I got it ready and Cade welded it on. Then Hannah did our more artistic details. The whole class helps us out. It’s a group project.”
Hannah, a junior, also created books that include drawings of the trailer schematics, data sheets, warranty information, etc.
“If you were to take the books, you could build the trailer from start to finish,” she said.
Once the trailer was complete, the team members showed it at the various Ag Mechanic shows, where they must stand with their trailer and talk about its virtues and be prepared to answer questions from judges.
“It’s long,” Mason said. “It’s standing on your feet for 12 hours. It’s a lot of talking. You talk to a lot of people. But if you are proud of your project, it’s fun.”
Hannah said the four team members had to know every detail about their trailer.
“You just wait until the judges come,” she said. “A lot of people come up and ask you questions about it. It’s kind of nerve-wracking, but you feel like you are prepared.”
The San Antonio show was the highlight for all four students.
“They asked more thorough questions,” Hannah said. “They asked me specifically about the books that we do. I thought they appreciated the work we put into the books.”
The students said they learned a lot from the yearlong experience.
“I learned a lot of speaking skills going to the shows,” Breanna said. “I also learned responsibility and teamwork as well as just relying on each other. It’s a really great experience.”
Cade, who comes from a family of welders, said he learned skills that will last a lifetime.
“My welding has gotten a lot better,” he said. “I learned a lot of skills. And I learned teamwork. Sometimes it’s hard when you don’t see eye to eye, but we all kind of put our differences aside. We had fun trips with everybody. It was an adventure along the way.”
And they must have done a good job, because a man who saw the trailer at the San Angelo show asked to buy it. All the ag mechanics projects are sold, and the money is put back into the program for future projects.
Showing the trailer was easy, Mason, said because it really turned out great.
“It’s one of the best,” he said. “Two grands and a reserve – you can’t ask for much better than that.”
Other Wylie students who traveled to Ag Mechanic shows included Austin Fairley, Cody Moss, Logan Rosenquist, Andrew Rodriguez and Colin Scalia.
Congratulations to the Wylie Ag Mechanics Team on their great spring.