The annual FFA Fergus Mechanics Career Development Event (CDE) was held at Lewistown High School this past weekend.
Approximately 150 students from all corners of the Treasure State flocked to the perennial contest to prove their knowledge of mechanical and technical systems.
Areas of concern included: the Montana Cadastral, a team Global Positioning Systems (GPS) problem, weights and measures, construction, equipment, welding, electrical, plumbing, control systems and an agricultural mechanic's written exam.
Shelby brought three junior high teams and one senior high team to the event. The students compete in both individual stations and then rotate to a team activity. This year’s team activity involved a GPS unit problem.
More and more, the understanding of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) are required to enhance production at the farm level. To optimize yields and to essentially operate sophisticated farming software is becoming a challenging task for older generational farmers around the country. The younger generation is encouraged to embrace the practices of the past while incorporating the latest technologies into conventional agriculture. This generation is quick to learn the new technologies. By participating in contests like this one, they get a chance to “show off” their knowledge and compare it to other FFA members. This contest incorporates many aspects of STEM into its problem areas.
After competing all morning and enjoying a bountiful lunch, the results were in. The Shelby Junior High teams proved that they were some of the best in the state. There were 22 junior high teams at the competition. Shelby Team 2; comprised of Harold Miller, Shaun Salveson, and Cameron Brusven placed 4th. Shelby Team 1; comprised of Kolby Lohr, Rowdy White, Aidan Torgerson and Tanner Tustian placed 9th. While Shelby Team 3; comprised of Alex Zimmerman, Matthew Riehl and Tabris Correa place 14th. The top three teams were: Joliet, Winifred, and Stillwater Valley.
There were 60 junior high individuals. Matthew Riehl placed 3rd overall and was awarded an individual trophy. Other notable individual placings include Harold Miller 13th, Tabris Correa 15th, Cameron Brusven 17th, Shaun Salveson 18th, Kolby Lohr 19th, and Aidan Torgerson 20th.
The Senior High division proved to be a little more stringent. The Shelby team placed an admirable 12th out of 31 teams. The senior team was comprised of Curtis Conant, Jonathan Henke, and Ethan Schwenke. There were 89 individuals competing at the event. Jonathan Henke placed 25th as an individual.
The Fergus FFA Alumni plays a crucial role in hosting this contest. Every year they procure volunteers to facilitate the annual event. In addition to the impressive amount of manpower it takes to run the event, they also have local businesses donate a wide array of prizes for the kids. Top place winners get the first pick from a table of over one hundred prizes including tool boxes, tools, t-shirts, shop equipment, safety gear, hats, and much more. The kids are treated very well at this contest.
This is not the only competition the Shelby FFA teams will compete in this year. The Conrad Crops and Mechanics competition along with the Glacier District Mechanics CDE at Cascade will be held in March. The grand finale at the FFA State CDE Competitions will be held in Billings in April. The kids will be able to compete for the title of “best in the state of Montana” in Billings. They are looking forward to the opportunity.