1,000 Words: Project Competition

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Many people don’t realize that Leroy and I were friends long before we ever started dating. Although we were introduced by a friend, (who was dating him at the time) we didn’t get to know each other until I started taking ag classes (in high school) and joined FFA. We spent a lot of time together working on various projects and attending different FFA sponsored events. We even competed against each other in an Extemporaneous Speech competition (which I won but that’s another story for another day.) Program Competition was one of the biggest events held every year and included almost everyone in the chapter. This was one of the most nerve-wracking things I did in FFA and my anxiety level still raises each time I think about it. To explain it simply, a panel of 3 or 4 judges would conduct an in-depth interview about our projects. They traveled to our homes (or where ever we kept our project) and spend 1-2 hours with us while we explained and demonstrated our knowledge. Not only did we have to have our projects (usually animals) and facilities clean, we also had visual aids as well a presentation to prepare. It was a lot of work. (NOTE: I took my show gelding Bakgamon into the round pen and worked him without a halter using only visual and oral cues. The judges were very impressed.)

This photograph shows the participants of Stanislaus County Project Competition from the Turlock FFA Chapter about 1985. Many of you will recognize several faces in this shot including Anne and I in the top row, and Leroy in the front. Leroy and I were both awarded “Outstanding Project” that year although we were in different divisions. (Thank goodness.)