Year in Review: Area youth bring home state, national titles
The year 2013 will be remembered as the year when three area FFA teams brought home national titles, and junior high and high school rodeo contestants represented Texas at the national level.
The La Vernia FFA team of Jordan Bailey, Kasey Reinen, Braden Recker, and Jaelyn Kotzur placed first in the National FFA Milk Quality & Products Career Development Event in Louisville, Ky., in October. Kasey placed first as an individual; Jordan, fourth; and Braden, seventh.
East Central FFA’s Food Science and Technology team of Tommy Fletcher, Johnna Pieniazek, Randee Terrill, and Chloe Villapando won the national title during the 85th annual National FFA Convention in Kentucky.
East Central’s Kylie Patterson earned the national title in the Animal Systems, Division I Event. She also placed fourth in the prepared public speaking career development event.
Three former Floresville FFA members -- Georgia Dunn, Ashlyn Talley, and Hannah Sawers -- earned the American FFA Degree during the National FFA Convention Nov. 2 in Louisville.
On the rodeo circuit, Casey Crow of La Vernia placed 54th in boys breakaway during the National Junior High Rodeo competition in Gallup, N.M., in late June. Texas’ girls breakaway champion, Shaye Lynn Jessee of La Vernia, placed twelfth in national competition.
Ben Peeler of Floresville placed seventh at the high school level of the National Cutting competition July 14-20 in Rockspring, Wy.
The Farm Bureau organization is known as the “Voice of Agriculture,” and Jewel Jimenez of Floresville represented District XII in the Texas Farm Bureau Free Enterprise Speech contest Dec. 7 in San Antonio after winning the district while representing Wilson County.
Stockdale 4-H/FFA member Jessica Puente earned a number of awards, including:
•Grand champion in the public speaking contest at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo last February.
•Grand champion senior division at the State Fair of Texas’ 4-H/FFA Agricultural Public Speaking Contest Oct. 9 in Dallas.
•The Golden Clover Award from Wilson County, the highest county 4-H achievement.
East Central FFA member Kylie Patterson not only placed at national competitions for speaking, she also earned other awards, including:
•First place in the Agricultural Policy division and Reserve Grand Champion Senior Speaker at the Heart of Texas Fair contest in Waco.
•Reserve champion in the science fair animal systems division of the science fair at the State Fair of Texas in Dallas. She also was named Champion Senior Agricultural Communications in the public speaking contest.
East Central FFA member Kaitlyn Kempen was named the Reserve Champion Junior Speaker in Animal Science during the Heart of Texas Fair contest in Waco.
She also was named the Champion Junior Western Heritage public speaker at the State Fair of Texas.
Show ring champions
Other students exhibited champion animals in the major shows, including:
•East Central FFA member Cassidy Jordan, who exhibited the reserve champion tom in the turkey tom show during the 2013 Houston Livestock Show.
•Stockdale 4-H/FFA member Jessica Puente, who showed the grand champion junior market lamb March 8 in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. The next day, the lamb was sold to the Hildebrand Family for $220,000, setting a world record.
•Wilson County 4-H members Tiffany Anderson, Michael Anderson, Kyra Aberle, Logan West, Kytheranialynn Fambrough-Brown, Bryson Reese Andruss, Zoe Rutledge, and Tanner White, who brought home three grand championship banners and four reserve championship banners from 2013 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo’s Llama and Alpaca Show.
•Shelby Lay’s turkey was named the 2013 Nixon-Smiley Livestock Show grand champion winner. Shelby’s turkey brought in a record $4,000. Three other records were broken during the 2013 auction, organizers said.
•Conner Jendrusch of the Falls City FFA, who exhibited the reserve champion Maine Anjou steer in the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo in February.
Other students earned honors at different levels, including:
•The East Central FFA group was awarded the Golden Horizon Award at the Texas FFA State Convention, July 8-12 in Dallas.
•Shaye Lynn Jessee of La Vernia and Mayce Marek of Pleasanton were awarded saddles for placing first at the Texas Rodeo Youth Association state finals in Gonzales. Shaye Lynn won in the junior goat-tying event, while Mayce won the junior polebending event.
•Stockdale FFA member Shannon Freasier and La Vernia FFA members Kourtney Sells and Coby Mills earned the Lone Star FFA Degree, the highest degree of membership in the state FFA association.
•Nixon-Smiley High School student Jordan Carrington was crowned queen of the first-ever Roger Crouch Memorial Bull Riding event July 20 in Nixon.
•Falls City FFA members Jon Swierc, Katie Johnson, Cody Jendrusch, Jake Hinds, Katie Pollok, and Travis Glover competed in the San Antonio and Houston shows in the tractor restoration contest, for the first time in Falls City’s school history.
With the leadership skills shown by these fine students, agriculture will remain in the spotlight this year, as they continue to display what they’ve learned in the classroom as well as animal husbandry skills while exhibiting animals or other projects in various contests and shows. The stock show season is under way. Watch for more honors to come!