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Area FFA'ers show well at Arbuckle
Ruben Lopez had never been to an FFA Field Day before.
"It was a new experience. I knew what I was doing, but it really was new," said the 15-year-old Hamilton High sophomore.
And what Lopez knows is vegetables.
He placed fourth in the Vegetable Crop competition, leading his FFA chapter to a fifth-place finish as a team. Hamilton also was fourth in the Light Horse Juding competition.
Daisy Montoya placed fifth in the Ag Sales contest for Hamilton.
On the other hand, senior Amanda Alves, from the Willows FFA, has been to many of them.
She placed fifth in the Farm Record Book, skills she said will help her when she pursues a career in ag business.
The chapter also finished fifth.
"This year we actually practiced, so we went into it pretty confident," Alves said.
Orland also had a good showing at the Field Day, finishing second in the Light Horse Juding category, a competition won by Zoey Zimmerman, who was not available for comment.
Zimmerman, a sophomore, said she was nervous at the start of the day, but that did not last long.
"It became fun. It was a great experience," said Zimmerman, who thought her team would do well, but had no expectations for herself.
After all, this was just her second Field Day.
"I was very, very surprised," she said.
Lopez got involved in FFA for the first time after his friends urged him to join.
He parlayed his passion for cooking to the good showing at the Field Day.
"I like to cook, so I know a lot about vegetables," said Lopez, who aspires to be a chef some day. He said he was inspired by his mother.
His favorite dish to prepare is pork ribs, and he is working on developing his own sauce.
Field Day officials said it boils down to confidence on how well the students do in the competition.
That is certainly what Sara Gwerder and Hillary Brainard, juniors at Pierce High and co-chairwomen of the Field Day, have gained from their experiences in FFA.
They both said putting on an event with more than 60 schools and hundreds of FFA members has been a challenge.
"We have different chapters from up and down the valley, but we also have chapters coming from Oregon and some have come from Nevada," said Brainard.
There were 67 chapters scheduled to attend, but not all made it.
The Field Day was actually a bit smaller in student numbers than the last two at Pierce, primarily because of competing FFA events in the region.
Brainard said planning for the next one started Monday.
They will take the good things and bad things and learn from the experience, and push for improving the Field Day next year.
It was the Arbuckle FFA members who basically put on the event, everything from organizing where each competition was held to designing the contest and projects within each of the 17 categories.
"It's a great opportunity to learn about communication and learning how to run your own business," said Gwerder.