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53,000 blue jackets: Wyoming competes at National FFA Convention

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Indianapolis, Ind. – “It’s a lot of fun to see so many blue jackets in one place,” says Colby Hales of of the Snowy Range FFA Chapter in Laramie, referencing the 2011 National FFA Convention in mid-October. “I love going to Nationals.”

Hales competed in the Livestock Evaluation contest and received the award for fifth high individual. Snowy Range FFA came out third among 44 teams, with a total of 170 individuals competing in the contest. Competing with Hales, also from Laramie, were McKensie Harris, William Wood and William Dalles.

But, for Hales, National Convention was about more than competing – it was about seeing the wide, diverse membership in FFA.

“I think one of the most motivating things is seeing that many students,” comments Hales. “We are always told that FFA has 500,000 members nationwide, but when you see 53,000 blue jackets in one place, it puts it all into perspective. This organization is a big and very passionate organization.”

A total of 3,273 students from 955 chapters representing all 54 associations competed at the 84th National FFA Convention, which wrapped up on Oct. 22. Nearly 55,000 members and guests attend each year.

At state FFA conventions each year, members compete for their right to move to National Convention, which offers 24 Career Development Events (CDEs). This year, Wyoming students from nine chapters competed in 15 events, bringing home team honors in seven and individual awards in three.
The National FFA Convention also offers the opportunity for students to attend leadership workshops and to meet members from around the nation as downtown Indianapolis transforms into an FFA-dominated world. Members can explore the career show and interact with industry leaders or attend convention sessions.    

At each of eight convention sessions, students watch National FFA Officers and motivational speakers as they share their life experiences and provide advice for building leadership potential.

Wyoming State FFA Association President Asher Markworth also had a great convention, saying this year was a new experience.

“This year was my third time going,” says Markworth, “Compared to years past, this convention was definitely a completely different experience.”

Markworth continues, “I was involved in the delegate process, which gave me the really awesome opportunity to witness how things are done, and to work with other state officers and delegates on committees was a great opportunity. The chance have some one-on-one time with national officers and the national staff really made convention a great experience.”

Markworth also competed at convention in the Horse Evaluation CDE with the Casper FFA chapter. Overall, Casper ranked fourth among 46 teams, and team member Justice Hayes placed tenth of 178 individuals. Other team members were Chandler Hiser and Cheyenne Brabec.

Among other notable accomplishments at National Convention, members of the Cheyenne Frontier FFA from Cheyenne East High School competed their way to sixth place in the Agriculture Sales contest. Members of the team were Dylan Freeman, Shelby Kindsvater, Sam Schultz and Blaze Cress.
Meeteetse FFA members Sheana Guthrie, Jeffrey Allen, Jessica Maurer and Clayton Webster received seventh place honors in the Environment and Natural Resources CDE.

In the Marketing Plan contest, FFA members Justin Linn, Megan Linn and Jessica Pingetzer from Shoshoni provided a marketing strategy to judges for a Wyoming crop consulting company and scored third of 33 teams.

Colter Bentley, also of the Casper FFA, placed fifth in the Meats Evaluation and Technology contest and led his team members to a fourth place team finish. Team members included Lisa Andreen, Ali Ballard and Zoey Taucher.

Burns FFA made it to the final round of competition in the Parliamentary Procedure contest, placing fourth overall. Team members Rylee Anderson, Breanne Fugate, Shay Lemaster, Cassady Malm, Ashley Spatz and Alexandria Langseth made up the high placing team.

In speaking contests, Corson Kerbs of Saratoga received a silver ranking in prepared public speaking, Rachel Purdy of Pine Bluffs received a bronze rating for her extemporaneous speech and Brody Cress of the Cheyenne Frontier FFA Chapter received a silver ranking in the Creed speaking contest.

Other team results are:
•    Agriculture Issues – Snowy Range FFA – Silver
•    Agriculture Mechanics – Buffalo FFA – Silver
•    Agronomy – Casper FFA – Silver
•    Farm Business Management – Casper FFA – Silver
•    Poultry Evaluation – Casper FFA – Silver

Along with outstanding competition results, Wyoming also honored 23 members with their American FFA Degree – the highest degree that the National Association can bestow on members.

Saige Albert is editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at

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