The Torrington/Lingle FFA students included P.D. Miller, Skyler Miller, Mikayla McNamee and Tyler Pickinpaugh.
P.D. Miller also took home the first place individual title, Skyler Miller placed third individually and Pickinpaugh ranked seventh overall. McNamee also received a gold emblem individual award.
These students, Groene emphasizes, are a group who was willing to take the extra step to accomplish their goals.
“I have no idea how many extra hours they spent studying on their own, but I have no doubt that they studied countless hours individually,” Groene explains. “After winning in April, we continued the same training regimen that we always did.”
Getting to nationals
Their training regimen included seeing as many classes as possible every week. They also continued to work on oral reasons and general knowledge.
“At nationals, we had to take a general animal science knowledge exam, so we got the reference materials, and we hit the practice tests hard,” Groene says. “We also did a marketing activity where the team had to purchase feeder cattle from a video sale, so we got the resources to replicate that, as well.”
The students, he explains, learned to calculate shrink and slide, as well as how to calculate shipping rates – all very practical skills.
“We hit the books relentlessly from when we got home from State Fair until the night before the contest,” Groene mentions.
While the Millers, Pickinpaugh and McNamee are ineligible to compete in the livestock judging CDE as high school students again, Groene says, “We’ve been invited to participate in the Royal Highlands Show in Edinburgh, Scotland this summer. We are going to try and take advantage of the opportunity.”
“It goes without saying the amount of pride I have in those kids and the job they did this year,” Groene adds. “They have done everything I’ve asked them and then more. I take a great deal of pride in those four students and the job they have done in preparing themselves.”
Outside of judging
Groene also adds that the students are more than just livestock judgers. They are also the chapter’s leaders.
“Mikayla is our State FFA Vice President, Tyler is our current chapter president, P.D. is our chapter treasurer, and Skyler is our chapter sentinel,” he says. “They lead the way in CDE participation, they understand our program and what I expect, and they are able to convey that to younger members.”
“We wouldn’t be where we are today without those kids,” Groene comments.
The National FFA Convention provides numerous opportunities for all students who attend.
“There is no experience quite like attending the National FFA Convention,” Womack notes. “The students who go back there to represent Wyoming work extremely hard.”
Womack adds that the stiff competition that students face in competing at the National FFA Convention is stiff, and winning or placing at the event is an amazing achievement.
“Beyond the competitions, the experience of being at National FFA Convention is a real eye-opener for our young people,” she continues. “Almost every college in the nation with an ag program is represented, and every commodity product and aspect of agriculture imaginable is there.”
Wyoming FFA President Brett Roth says, “I don’t think there was a time during the week that wasn’t full of energy and excitement. Everyone did well in their competitions.”
Roth also served as a delegate for Wyoming and notes that the process is important to help ensure that member’s opinions are heard.
“It is important that we are doing what is best for the state associations and the national association,” Roth explains. “It is exciting because we have the chance to give our input and make changes.”
Roth adds, “If anyone has the chance to go to the National FFA Convention, I recommend that they go – whether they have immediate ties to FFA or not. It is amazing.”
The 87th National FFA Convention and Expo returns to Louisville, Ky. next year on Oct. 29 to Nov. 1.