Courtesy photo Lincoln County FFA chapter receives a bronze award in Ag Mechanics at the National FFA Convention in October in Louisville, Kentucky. Left to right are Ray Thompson, Jr., Jacques Wadsworth and Samantha Smith.

Lincoln County’s FFA Chapter participated in the FFA National Convention in Louisville, Kentucky Oct. 28-31.

Ag advisor Tyler Heaton said the Ag Mechanics team had qualified last March to represent Nevada at the convention.

Team members included Raymond Thompson, Jr., Samantha Smith and Jacques Wadsworth, all students at the high school.

He said the team and their chaperones, Bevan Lister, Trisha Thompson and Sharee Mathews, flew from Las Vegas to Cincinnati, then drove an extra hour to Louisville.

“We had to go right into the competition when we arrived,” Heaton said. “We flew over night and the kids didn’t have much time to rest.”

The tasks the team were given were to calibrate a large Case-International field spraying machine, be tested on small engines and show their welding skills.

The second day of the competition the team took written tests on the their individual knowledge.

Heaton said 47 different states were represented and rotated through each station in small groups broken up by state name.

“Just the team members alone could work on the projects, the advisors were not allowed to even be in the room,” Heaton said.

He explained the team knew what they would be tested on, so they had much time to practice before winning the state competition in March and going to nationals in late October.

The Lincoln team qualified for a bronze award, Heaton said. “But just to be there is quite an accomplishment. It was a great learning experience and a great opportunity for the students to experience that type of large exposition. There were over 67,000 FFA students involved. And all of the major farm equipment manufacturers had representatives there.”

Army recruiters were also there, he said, promoting the military as a way to also get your education paid for. Each of the states also had booths representing their various major products. “We also saw a number of interesting Science Fair projects.”

In their free time, Heaton said the group was able to take a tour of Churchill Downs, home to the famous Kentucky Derby and on Saturday watch American Pharaoh on TV win the Grand Slam of horse racing: the Derby, Preakness, Belmont, and the Breeders Cup.

They also saw a number of the contestants who were at the nationals in the FFA talent contest, including Alamo’s Brook Higbee. “We got to see two of her performances,” he said.

Heaton wanted to give a special word of thanks and appreciation to all those who supported the FFA program for their trip.