FFA competes in state showing

She wakes up before the crack of dawn on a Friday morning. She quickly throws on some comfy sweats and puts her hair in a messy bun. She leaves the house.

She drives 15 minutes to the school farm. There, she feeds her pigs and does her other chores. Once she’s done, she drives the 15 minutes back home. It’s not even 6 a.m. She now has two decisions: get ready for school now or go back to sleep, then get ready. She chooses the latter, knowing she’ll have to repeat the routine tomorrow.

Thus is the life of a few FFA (Future Farmers of America) students every morning.

Placings

The early mornings eventually led to OYE (Oklahoma Youth Expo) March 10-18. Thirteen students showed at the livestock show. Of those students, six placed in class. The students showed does (female goats), barrows (castrated male pigs) and gilts (female pigs who have not been bred). For specific placings, look to the sidebar.

“For the level of competition I felt they did really well,” advisor Cory Jarboe said. “They put in a lot of hard work.”

How it works

Placing at livestock competitions is different from placing at other activities. When showing, the students have about 10 steps to prove themselves worthy of going on to the big ring.

“It’s still really good and considered successful just to make the big ring,” senior Bailey Teakell said.

At OYE the students may be up against 1,000 other competitors, but a judge may only sift 75 for each class. A breed of animal will have many different classes because of the different weights or birthdates.

The sift judge may then point the student to the sift pen. However, the student still has a chance to make it to the big ring because after the sifting a judge can tell the student to go on to the big ring.

“They take the winner from each one of those classes and they come back and show for champion in that breed,” Jarboe said.

The person who was first in class advances to the next title: breed champion. There, all the students show again to decide who will be breed champion. Whoever is second receives the title of reserve breed.

The breed champions then go on to show against the other gilts or barrows, etc. Whoever wins that is the grand champion. The second place award is called reserve grand.

“If I win I feel really good, but if I don’t then I love the experience,” freshman Michaela Taylor said.

More than showing

In addition to showing, FFA and agriculture participate in welding, managing a greenhouse, land judging, leadership activities and speeches.

“There’s something that fits every person that they can participate in and be successful,” Jarboe said. “Because there’s so many facets of agriculture, they can find something and be successful at it.”

Some FFA students will write a 6-8 minute speech, revise it, memorize it and perform it in front of judges. It helps some students with public speaking.

“I am not big on being in front of people and speaking,” senior Seth Roggow said. “FFA has really helped me with that.”

Joining

Jarboe would appreciate more students being involved in agriculture. He said that if the world didn’t have agriculture, everyone would be naked and hungry. If one joins agriculture or FFA, fewer people may be naked hungry. Simply speak with Jarboe or get agriculture put in your schedule.

“[FFA is] not just plows. It’s not just about farming. It’s not just about showing livestock,” Jarboe said. “There’s so much more to it that I wish more people would understand, because basically if you eat you’re part of agriculture.”