North Surry High School’s FFA is on a roll as it has members once again fair well in state and regional competitions.
At the Foothill Federation Truck and Tractor Contest held at East Wilkes High School, three North Surry FFA students placed in their divisions. The competition pitted students from Ashe, Alleghany, Wilkes, Surry and Yadkin counties against one another.
Hunter Edwards placed first in the senior tractor driving contest, allowing him the opportunity to compete in the state contest at the Southern Farm Show in Raleigh this February. Kinley Jones finished in third place in the junior tractor driving contest. For that particular category, competitors had to drive a tractor attached to a trailer through an obstacle course, including backing it. Alex Ratcliff finished in third place and Jones finished in fourth place in the truck driving competition. For that particular contest, competitors were charged with driving a pick-up truck through an obstacle course.
To prepare for the competition, the students used a practice course located behind the school using vehicles donated by Mount Airy Equipment. Edwards had previous experience in the tractor competition but for the other two, it was their first try. All agreed they would be interested in competing again and would recommend it to others.
Jones along with Mason Payne also finished in the top 25 in the state in the FFA dairy judging competition held in Salisbury. This will allow them to compete in the national competition next fall.
“We had to judge different sets of cows then place them from the top cow to the bottom cow and give our reasons why to the judges,” said Jones. “We judged a few sets of cows to practice before we went to the contest.”
“I was hard in a way. It wasn’t the easiest, you had to use your brain a lot,” said Payne. “It really helps with public speaking a lot.”
At the competition, each team evaluates six classes of dairy cattle and defends the reasoning behind their evaluations. Participants also complete a written test and work collaboratively to select appropriate herd composition. Additional participants in the competition from North Surry are, Brady Payne, Jasmine Johnson, Elizabeth Stiltner, Anna Atkins, Kenyon Shore, James Gullatt, Tyler Shelton, Wesley Hargrave and Abby Axsom.
FFA Adviser Aaron Ray Tompkins feels these competitions are good for his students in helping them prepared for potential careers in fields related to FFA.
“All of these events are considered career development events. They have an opportunity to do public speaking, they’re able to make decisions about livestock and they can learn to operate machinery and prepare for jobs that require that capability. They’re also able to experience competition with individuals from many different areas,” said Tompkins. “We typically have the mentality that if we compete we’re not going to half-way do it.”
Tompkins said that unlike some of the other FFA programs across the state, he does not have trouble recruiting students to participate in the events. In fact, his problem is exactly the opposite.
“They want to continue to do more and more each year,” he said. “My only problem is finding the time to do it all.”
Reach Morgan Wall at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1929.