By JESSIE HORTON
STEPHENVILLE (March 31, 2015) — They don’t call Stephenville the City of Champions for no reason, and they don’t just mean in sports. Stephenville FFA proved just what it means to be champions by dominating the nation’s largest FFA judging competition for the third consecutive year.
“It’s a humbling and overwhelming position to be in,” said Stephenville FFA Sponsor Laurah Williams. “We’re blessed. Really blessed.”
More than 9,000 (some estimates put the number closer to 10,000) students from more than 500 schools converged on Stephenville last week for the Tarleton State University Invitational, an event that’s billed as the nation’s largest of its kind. Stephenville FFA took 50 students forming 10 teams to the event. Students participated on the dairy cattle judging team, entomology team, environmental and natural resources judging team, farm and business management team, horse judging team, horticulture team, livestock judging team, meats evaluation team, milk quality and production judging team and the wildlife judging team.
At the invitational, the top three teams in each division were honored for their high scores. Stephenville FFA had four teams ranked in the top three in their divisions. Those teams are the farm and business management, livestock judging, meats evaluation and wildlife teams.
The top ranking teams’ points, plus the other teams’ points were added together and Stephenville FFA took home sweepstakes honors for the third consecutive year. This is an honor no other school in the history of the TSU Invitational can claim. The students also earned a total of $5,000 in scholarship money.
While Williams said the students were excited to receive such honors, they remain focused on the next round of competition – the Area IV and VIII Competition. This is the second event in as many weeks held on the Tarleton State campus in Stephenville, bringing about a third of the amount of students as the invitational.
Williams, Michael Rainey and Ryan Clarke will take approximately the same amount of students to the area competition in hopes of advancing.
“We have great kids,” she said of the program’s continued success. “The quality of kids speaks to the community we live in here in Stephenville. The program has a long history of success because we have great support from the community and from the administration here. A program can only be as great as we’re allowed to be and at Stephenville ISD, the sky’s the limit.”