Wyoming students see top placings at the National FFA ConventionWritten by Saige Albert
Indianapolis, Ind. – Last week, students from across the state of Wyoming traveled to Indianapolis, Ind. from Oct. 19-22 for the National FFA Convention. Themed, “Transform Purpose to Action,” FFA members who qualified at the State FFA Convention in April advanced to compete at the national level, and their hard work paid off.
The National FFA Officer Team said, “The future of agriculture is strong, and as the population continues to grow, so does the need for a healthy and abundant food supply. By working together, we can transform the message of agriculture. Together, FFA members can continue to educate others on the importance of agriculture.”
The Wyoming FFA Association commented, “With a wrap on National Convention 2016, we had three national championships, one reserve national championship, a third place team finish, other gold emblem teams and individuals, national agri-science fair competitors, one proficiency finalist and 35 American FFA Degree recipients – all in all, a pretty good convention for Wyoming.”
The Association also emphasized that, while Wyoming is vast in size, it often feels like one family attending convention together.
“We can’t help but feel blessed to be part of the amazing machine that is Wyoming FFA,” the Association reported. “We are a big state, but in times like these, it feels more like a small town with really long streets.”
They added, “Members from across the state came together to represent our entire state, not just their chapter. They competed with Cowboy pride, demonstrated our western work ethic and conducted themselves with integrity and respect.”
Results from the contests that Wyoming FFA members competed in are listed below, along with their results.
Career Development Events
Agricultural Issues Forum
Bronze – Snowy Range FFA
Silver – Casper FFA
Agricultural Technology and Mechanical Systems
Silver – Douglas FFA
Silver Individuals – Brendan Blackburn, Quinten Frye and Jake Logar
Bronze Individual – Tyler Dowton
Silver – Wheatland FFA
Gold Individual – Chase Markel
Silver Individuals – Tyler Call and Wes Taylor
Bronze Individual – Bailey Tillman
Bronze – Ayanah Winsor, Kaycee FFA
Environment and Natural Resources
Eighth Place – Buffalo FFA
Fifth Place – Jw Sayer
Bridgette Klasinski, Nathan Kessler and Trevor Spanyers
Extemporaneous Public Speaking
Bronze – Aften Peterson, Ten Sleep FFA
Farm Business Management
Gold – Wheatland FFA
Eighth Place – Ty Paisley
Gold Individual – Ashley Hyche
Silver Individuals – Tyler Erickson and Haydn Madsen
First Place – Cheyenne Frontier FFA
Sixth Place – Danette Vliem
Gold Individuals – Jean-Marie Hess and Addysen Rosner
Silver Individual – Hannah Jankovsky
Bronze Individual Callie Klinghagen, Chief Washakie FFA
Second Place – Snowy Range FFA
Third Place – Logan Despain
Seventh Place – Kirby Hales
Gold Individuals – Tanner Wright and Kyle Despain
Third Place – Torrington-Lingle FFA
McKenna Greenwald, Paige Miller and Morea Shipley
Meats Evaluation and Technology
First Place – Casper FFA
First Place – Sheridan Stewart
Fourth Place – Benjamin Campbell
Sixth Place – Matthew Willadsen
Gold Individual – Hunter Romsa
Silver – Buffalo FFA
Silver – Windy City FFA
Prepared Public Speaking
First Place – Trey Campbell, Casper FFA
Silver – Casper FFA
Honorary American Degree
Heath Hornecker – Casper
Cari Sue Covolo – Mountain View
Division 1 – Aubrey Reynolds, Jim Bridger FFA – Bronze
Division 2 – Callie Klinghagen, Chief Washakie FFA – Silver
Division 3 – Jacob Bentley and Gillen Faxon, Casper FFA – Silver
Division 4 – Ellary Golumb and Payton Hallsted, Casper FFA – Silver
Environmental Services/Natural Resource Systems
Division 1 – Michael Hollister, Casper FFA – Silver
Division 2 – Karen Lambert, Upton FFA – Bronze
Division 3 – Kelly Collins and Lexis Woodegeard, Casper FFA – Silver
Division 4 – Christopher Brown and Matthew Willadsen, Casper FFA – Gold
Food Products and Processing Systems
Division 1 – Caleb Bradford, Bow River FFA – Silver
Division 2 – Makyela Sorensen, Paintrock FFA – Bronze
Division 3 – Annette Pasley and Mackenzie Todd, Casper FFA – Gold
Division 1 – Emma Mercer, Paintrock FFA – Bronze
Division 2 – Adeline Miller, Chief Washakie FFA – Bronze
Division 3 – Emily Richardson and Taya Steffens, Casper FFA – Gold
Power, Structural and Technical Systems
Division 1 – Wes Bray, Casper FFA – Silver
Division 2 – Landen Fuller, Torrington-Lingle FFA – Bronze
Division 3 – Carlice Cutright and Stone Lucas Vitale, Casper FFA – Gold
Division 4 – Morgan Hand and William Moffat, Casper FFA – Bronze
Division 2 – Abbigail Faxon, Casper FFA – Bronze
Division 3 – Toni McMurray and Baylie Till, Casper FFA – Silver
Division 4 – Brandon Adkins and Sheridan Stewart, Casper FFA – Bronze
Local influence: Wyoming 4-H’ers celebrate National 4-H Week in communitiesWritten by Emilee Gibb
Established over 100 years ago, the 4-H program was created to provide hands-on learning opportunities outside of the classroom for students eight years old through 12th grade.
4-H’ers from around Wyoming celebrated National 4-H Week Oct. 2-8 through various activities organized by their local clubs.
The 4-H program was first created to provide hands-on learning experiences that bridged public school education and rural life for youth.
Several after-school programs were created in the early 1900s that all contributed to the development of the 4-H program.
“A.B. Graham started a youth program in Clark County, Ohio, in 1902, which is considered the birth of 4-H in the United States. The first club was called ‘The Tomato Club’ or the ‘Corn Growing Club,’” says 4-H on their website.
The program is now the nation’s largest youth development organization, with projects ranging from livestock husbandry to fashion revue to robotics.
“The 4-H idea is simple – help young people and their families gain the skills needed to be proactive forces in their communities and develop ideas for a more innovative economy,” continues 4-H.
The national 4-H program extends its reach to youth across both rural and urban America, utilizing local volunteers and 4-H professionals.
“Our network of 500,000 volunteers and 3,500 4-H professionals provides caring and supportive mentoring to all 6 million 4-H’ers, helping them grow into true leaders today and in life,” explains 4-H.
Wyoming 4-H has continued to grow over the last 100 years, reaching youth in every county of the state.
“Last year, we had 7,015 youth enrolled in 4-H clubs in Wyoming,” says Wyoming 4-H Office Administrative Assistant Karen Allison.
Family involvement and local volunteers are an essential part of the success of Wyoming 4-H.
“There are more than 2,700 volunteer leaders in the 4-H program who provide the guidance, knowledge, experience and enthusiasm that help 4-H members, as well as communities,” says Wyoming 4-H on its website.
The program boasts over 40 project areas that 4-H’ers can participate in, as well as leadership opportunities, including the Wyoming 4-H Leadership Team.
“It’s very much based on what the youth are interested in, but then they also get components and life skills through their project work and through their club work that they don’t realize they’re getting, a lot of the time until their older,” says Laramie County 4-H Extension Educator Tansey Sussex.
County clubs around Wyoming hosted a variety of activities throughout National 4-H Week to highlight the value of the 4-H program in their communities.
Sussex says that Laramie County 4-H’s largest event for the week was a kickoff open house.
“We hope that all of the potential members who are interested in joining came, and then we have a lot of returning members who also attend,” she says. “Our members demonstrated some of their project areas, the clubs did some recruiting, and we did a National Youth Science Day experiment.”
Throughout the week, Laramie County 4-H’ers also participated in activities including window painting, a spirit day, an appreciation day and a day to tell their friends about 4-H.
“Friday was our 'Tell a Friend About 4-H Day,' where the kids shared what the benefits of 4-H are and why they joined the program to recruit their friends to attend,” says Sussex.
4-H’ers in Sublette County hosted celebrations in Pinedale and Big Piney to promote the 4-H program to community members.
“Our members and leaders brought in project and club displays to set up. Community members came in, saw what we are all about, looked at what clubs are doing and visited with leaders about clubs and projects,” says Sublette County 4-H Extension Educator Robin Schamber.
The county also provided a number of giveaways throughout the week for answering 4-H trivia questions, as well as gifts for the first members and volunteers who enrolled.
The events hosted throughout National 4-H Week help to recruit new members to local 4-H programs, says Schamber.
“Our National 4-H Week Celebration is our largest recruitment drive for new members,” continues Schamber.
Laramie County 4-H has also hosted events to celebrate National 4-H Week for three years and has seen rapid growth in their program.
“Last year, from our first year to our second year, our celebration grew exponentially. We were very excited, but we ran out of space. This year we had a little more space, and we’re hoping that it keeps growing,” says Sussex.
The public celebrations are successful in creating interest in 4-H for many reasons, including building rapport with interested families, adds Sussex.
“It’s helpful because attendees get to meet staff and leaders. We get to have a one-on-one discussion with them about what we offer, and then I think it helps tie them in a little bit more to the program throughout the year,” concludes Sussex.
Sheridan junior manages successful show stock businessWritten by Emilee Gibb
Sheridan – “I’m practically running my own business as a 16-year-old. Not many people get to have that,” says Sheridan FFA member Haley Timm.
In addition to showing livestock, serving as the secretary for the Sheridan FFA chapter and exceling in the classroom, the high school junior manages her own club calf operation called Heart J Show Stock.
Growing up, Timm was heavily involved with riding horses and competing in rodeos.
“I rode horses a lot, and I did a lot of the rodeo stuff until the summer before my seventh grade year. I broke my ankle goat tying, and that’s where the horses stopped and the cows came into play,” says Timm.
She says that transitioning into the cattle industry was a natural fit for her as she was already showing sheep, and both her mom and uncle showed steers in 4-H. Showing cattle is certainly different than her rodeoing experience, however.
“It’s definitely a little bit of a different trail. The rodeo was fun, and it was thrilling, but I didn’t make near the money that I make now, which is nice for college,” Timm explains.
“I’ve been raising club calves for four years,” says Timm. “I started with one and then got another one. It grew from there. It was a slow process in the beginning because I could only afford to buy so many females at once”
After her first year of showing cattle, Timm was hooked and wanted to show more. However, that was going to be a challenge with showing sheep, as well, because her county fair had strict regulations on how many animals each competitor could show.
Her mother suggested that she purchase a heifer instead of another steer.
“That next year, I bought my first heifer from a guy in Buffalo, and then it just started from there,” continues Timm.
“I have seven club calf babies on the ground this year, and I’ll have 12 next year,” says Timm.
As her business has flourished, Timm has been able to expand her breeding herd.
“This year will be the biggest pen we’ve had because last year I was able to invest in four heifers, and three of the four had babies this year. I was able to definitely grow my herd more this year,” explains Timm.
Timm has also bred some her family’s commercial cattle to club calves.
Maine-Anjou is Timm’s preferred breed for her club calves.
“I think they’re a little prettier, a little more showier than Angus,” she says
Timm also crossbreeds with Angus and Charolais, noting that it’s important to evaluate each cow before selecting a sire.
“Every cow is different, so I have to learn about their genetics and understand their background,” continues Timm.
Special care needs to be taken with selecting sires for club calves, as many share the same bloodlines.
“With the club calves, there’s a lot of genetic problems that can come along if I start getting too close to getting back to a common sire because a lot of those calves go back to the same dad or grandfather in the end,” notes Timm.
Timm primarily uses artificial insemination (AI) to breed her cows but also uses a high quality Hereford bull from a local rancher as a cleanup bull.
“We breed them and then wait for one heat cycle. If one of them comes back into heat, that’s when we put the bull in. We try to at least catch them twice before we throw him in there,” she explains.
Her involvement in FFA and with owning her own business has helped prepare Timm with important life skills.
“A lot of people will say responsibility, but that’s the main thing. A lot of kids don’t understand why I can’t stay late in town,” says Timm. “They think I can just throw food and water at them and they’re good, but it’s a little bit more in-depth than that.”
Timm credits her business experience with helping her develop greater maturity than many of her peers, noting that it is a very valuable experience.
“Not many people get to have that kind of opportunity,” she says.
“I thought I wanted to be a veterinarian. I mean, that’s what every little kid wants to be at some point. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve definitely veered more toward the human side of things,” Timm says.
She is currently planning beginning her college career in Laramie and then possibly pursuing a degree in radiology at Washington State University. Regardless of her college decisions, Timm plans on staying involved with agriculture.
“In the future I definitely see me continuing with my club calf stuff,” she concludes.
Central Wyo youth bring quality and dedication to county fairWritten by Emilee Gibb
Casper – 4-H and FFA members from around central Wyoming are vied for top honors with their projects at the 2016 Central Wyoming Fair and Rodeo on July 8-16.
Youth have the opportunity to show 11 different species at the fair, varying from beef cattle to poultry to cats. They also are able to enter static exhibits for competition in categories including Cake Decorating, Health, Leather, Robotics, Youth Leadership and more.
Presentation, Livestock Judging, Fashion Revue and Beef Cook-Off contests keep participants busy throughout the rest of the summer, as they were completed prior to the fair. FFA students also compete in Ag Mechanics, Agronomy and Classroom Exhibits competitions.
The fair has a rich history, with the first county fair for Natrona County being held in 1914 and the fairgrounds was developed in 1947. Much has changed since then, but the fair still prides itself in maintaining a spirit of community.
“No matter what the next 60 years brings, the Central Wyoming Fair and Rodeo will still be bringing families together,” says the Central Wyoming Fair and Rodeo website.
Uinta County 4-H’ers excel at Showcase ShowdowWritten by Emilee Gibb
Laramie – Youth from across Wyoming put their skills and knowledge to the test at the Wyoming 4-H Showcase Showdown in Laramie June 21-23. 4-H’ers from the Uinta County 4-H program boasted excellent representation and placings at the event.
“This is the culminating event that brings together youth from across Wyoming who are engaging in both competitive, as well as educational programs while they’re there,” says Uinta County 4-H Extension Educator Dawn Sanchez.
Showcase Showdown includes numerous contest categories, including cake decorating, robotics, food cook-off, produce judging, livestock and dog skill-a-thons, hippology, table setting, rocket launching and speech contests.
The state leadership team interviews also take place.
“We had kids from Uinta County compete in every contest except for the rocketry contest,” continues Sanchez.
Uinta County 4-H had a very large representation at Showdown, with over 40 youth attending.
“It’s their time to showcase what they’ve learned and put their skills and knowledge into action,” emphasizes Sanchez.
Many contests have been added to the Wyoming 4-H program in recent years to encompass a wider variety of interests with today’s youth.
“Those are designed and came about to promote more opportunities for kids to engage in in areas that they’re interested in and be able to participate,” commends Sanchez.
“We had kids place in the top three in every contest except robotics, where we were fourth,” praises Sanchez.
Uinta County senior 4-H’ers boasted the champion teams in the produce judging contest, food cook-off, impromptu speech and the dog skill-a-thon. They took reserve honors in horse judging, hippology and table setting. The seniors took the top three team honors in the livestock skill-a-thon.
The county also boasted two seniors being elected to serve on the state leadership team.
The junior 4-H’ers were reserve champions in the livestock skill-a-thon, produce judging, prepared speech, food cook-off and the dog skill-a-thon.
In the intermediate division, 4-H’ers took champion honors in cake decorating and the dog skill-a-thon. They took reserve honors in the food cook-off.
Student success is truly a team effort according to Sanchez. In addition to having motivated and hardworking personalities, working in a team environment encourages the 4-H’ers to strive for excellence.
“I think what makes them successful within our county is that they work together in teams which then motivates each of them to study more and work harder to try and accomplish their goals,” says Sanchez.
The volunteers involved in the 4-H program also make student success possible as they provide their expertise in each contest category. Sanchez also notes that parental support is important in helping the kids accomplish their goals.
She continues, “Our county Extension office tries to supply the resources that they need to be able to study and be successful in each of those events.”
Sanchez comments that the 4-H program traditionally showcased competitions at county and state fairs.
“I think that Showcase Showdown is an opportunity and an event for kids to engage in additional competition areas and actually put some of those skills that they’re learning into actual practice,” says Sanchez
For example, while baking a cake at home and entering it in the county fair to be judged is helpful, the food cook-off contest brings the competition to the next level.
“This is one more opportunity for them to apply those skills because they’re given an hour to prepare a dish for the judge using the ingredient list that’s provided to them. I think it’s that next step of application,” emphasizes Sanchez.
“Obviously our motto and end goal is that kids are going to gain life skills that they can apply when they enter adulthood,” comments Sanchez.
Helping youth involved with the program to develop life skills such as teamwork, responsibility, effective communication and other core skills is important to everyone involved with Uinta County 4-H.
In addition to those important life skills, Sanchez also wants each 4-H’er involved to develop self-esteem through learning new skills and showcasing them to others.
Their involvement in 4-H also gives them the opportunity to create lasting relationships with other youth from around the state that are involved in the program.
“It’s why we do what we do,” says Sanchez.