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Future Farmers converge for Field Day
Like many Maxwell High students, freshman Molly Dunlap cannot remember when she wasn't involved in some agriculture group or another.
Of course, Dunlap and many students grow up on a farm or ranch.
Stil, Dunlap admits she was surprised to finish second in the Light Horse Judging competition at the 15th annual FFA Field Day at Pierce High School in Arbuckle on Saturday.
"It was really fun," Dunlap said of only her second Field Day experience. "It was a chance to get better in horse judging and to learn more about the subject."
Maxwell as a team finished third in the category.
Dunlap said this is actually her first year in FFA after growing up in 4H.
"I like the ag perspective of it, and I like to be out working with the animals," she said.
She also comes from a family in the ca tle business, and she plans to head in the same direction.
Dunlap is counting on FFA to help prepare her.
Field Day officials said it all boils down to confidence on how well the students perform at the event, and FFA builds that confidence.
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.