MUSCATINE, Iowa–Though the school year has ended, FFA contest season remains in full swing. In mid June, Muscatine FFA’s ag mechanics, floriculture, high school horse judging, junior high school horse judging (which consisted of two separate teams), and nursery and landscaping all competed at state. Each team performed well, with ag mechanics earning reserve state champion, floriculture earning third, high school horse judging earning reserve state champion, the middle school horse judging teams earning second and third place, and the nursery and landscaping team becoming this year’s state champions.
For the middle school students competing in their first state level event, the horse judging contest proved very exciting. Kensley Paul, an eighth grader who just completed her first year and earned state champion individual in horse judging, felt that though it took a lot of time to practice for both the team and individual parts of the event it proved very rewarding. “It felt good,” she said. “I had to do a lot of work to get up there, and it was fun and I’m going to do it again next year.”
While some FFA members have started thinking about next year, the nursery and landscaping team continues to practice for the national competition, which will take place in two parts. In August, students will complete in several portions of the contest virtually. Those who do well will go to the in person competition in Indianapolis. For team members like senior Belinda Brain, this represents a climactic conclusion to a successful season. “I had the privilege of being on a really good team this year and I’m really excited we get to continue to nationals,” she shared.
In a competition year unlike any other, Muscatine FFA leader Ashley Wiebe took pride in how far so many teams went: “I thought we did a really good job. To have four teams competing within a few days of each other and to all place in the top three is a pretty good deal.”