As I look back at 2015, Olathe FFA has had a huge year! It is important for our members to be goal oriented and strive for success in all that we do. With this in mind, I will recap some of the larger accomplishments, various trips, and community involvement.
We started off the 2015 school year with a trip to the National Western Stock Show where we attended livestock shows, the PBR Bull Riding, and toured Colorado Serum. In February we celebrated FFA week with many traditions that have been going on for 30 years or more. The FFA officer team put on a petting zoo and Ag in the Classroom presentation for the Olathe Elementary students, an Ag Safety day for the Olathe Middle School, and we had a lot of fun within our chapter by decorating the high school, playing in a ping pong tournament, and having a dance to wrap up the week. These events let the younger kids learn more about agriculture, get more involved, and be more interested in being an FFA member when they get older.
Springtime means judging season for the Olathe FFA Chapter. Last year we took six teams to the state contest in Fort Collins that consisted of 24 kids (over a third of our chapter). The teams that competed included livestock, horse, floriculture, ag mechanics, land evaluation, and meat evaluation. It was one heck of a contest for us! Our meats team won the state championship, along with numerous gold- and silver-rated teams, like the second-place livestock team and third-place floriculture team. Springtime also means our annual parent member banquet that allows us to recognize our members and community. We all enjoyed a fine catered dinner by the Daily Bread Bakery and celebrated successes.
The end of school doesn't mean that Olathe FFA is done for the summer. Our newly elected FFA officer team went on its officer retreat on the Uncompahgre Plateau with advisor Martinez. It is so much fun! We do a lot of planning for the upcoming year, learn officer responsibilities, leadership building activities, come up with our theme for the upcoming year, and do tons of fun things! After this we headed to the state FFA convention, which was in Alamosa this year. Our state champion meat evaluation team was recognized and the five State FFA Degree recipients got their state degree chains and charms. Those five were Aaron Lenihan, Kaycee Baker, Maritza Olide, Dexter Flick and Cassie Franks.
Montrose County Fair is always a great time for FFA members whether they are showing an animal or participating in activities throughout the week. We had many champions from our chapter this year, including Brooke Snyder who won grand champion market lamb. Many of us were also involved in putting on some stick horse races and participating in Ag Olympics.
As the summer came to a close and a new school year began, we found ourselves helping with the Ranch Rodeo in Montrose so that we could fundraise money for the meats team to compete at the national FFA convention, which is held in Louisville, Ky. The FFA Alumni tailgate party was a success during Homecoming week, raising $700 for scholarships. We enjoyed a lot of activities at the chapter level like dances, bonfires and barbecues. These help to form the tight bond we all share in the Olathe FFA.
As we got into the fall, the meats team, consisting of Dexter Flick, Justin Mosher, Morgan Felix and Cassie Franks, prepared for the national contest. We put at least 8-10 hours in a week in practice on top of college classes, varsity football and jobs. There were six other Olathe FFA members who traveled with us to the national FFA convention during the last week of October so they could partake in the excellent leadership development. The meats team had a strong showing in Kentucky and ended up finishing 13th in the nation, with three gold-rated team members and one silver-rated team member! Olathe FFA also had three FFA members, Kendall Franks, Fallon Flick, and Tia Mergelman, who received the prestigious American FFA Degree. Only 1 percent of all FFA members hold this degree and we are very proud of these young ladies who are all currently majoring in agriculture at universities in Montana, Colorado and Texas. In November, our annual Hired Hand Auction was the most successful one to date. We included some live entertainment by singer Caitlyn Taussig and sold over 300 tickets to the venue! As the month went by, we also had two young ladies compete in the district Creed Speaking contest. Shayne Hoey received a gold rating and Shyanne Dahl got a silver rating. After the contest we hosted an awesome district FFA barbecue and dance.
As we wrapped up 2015, we found ourselves serving our community with the annual fruit sale, as well as collecting 700 pounds of non-perishable food items for the local food bank. We also had one more fun night with our Casino Night. Looking back, it has been an EXCELLENT year for the Olathe FFA Chapter and we are so thankful for the support of our communities! Look out 2016! We are ready to produce some more state champions, excellent leaders and create wonderful memories.
Written by Olathe FFA Reporter
Justin Mosher and FFA Advisor