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Flathead FFA has ‘top tier’ year at state competition

April 27, 2019 GMT

Thirty-one students represented Flathead FFA at the state convention in Bozeman, bringing home two teams who advance to nationals and will represent Montana in Indianapolis in October.

The state FFA convention, held earlier this month, tested students’ knowledge and skills in agricultural and leadership competitions in career development events.

The state championship team in Farm and Agribusiness Management includes Cole Dykhuizen, Morgan Kelly, Hunter Burden and Kadon Cheff. Individually, Dykhuizen placed third; Kelly placed fourth; Burden placed fifth and Cheff placed ninth.

Runners-up in Livestock Evaluation also advance to state. They include Luke Heupel, Bailey Lake, who placed ninth individually; Bethany Lyford, who placed 10th individually and Maddie Sutton, who placed seventh individually. The runners-up advance because of the first-place team’s ineligibility due to a rule that students can only compete once in a particular event at nationals, according to Vo-agteacher Justin Heupel, who said this was the case for some members of the championship team.

The Flathead FFA team of Daisy Becker, Faith Cheff, Matthew Koenig, Bailey Lake, Shelby Olsen and Dejana Ridens were runners-up in Parliamentary Procedure.

Flathead FFA teams competing in Ag Mechanics and Agronomy both finished third.

The Ag Mechanics team includes Cody Bicknell, Matthew Dall, Aaron Lang and Keith Eberhart. As individuals, Bicknell placed eighth; Dall, 10th; Lang 16th and Eberhart 20th.

The Agronomy team includes Maria Bay, who placed seventh individually; Whitney Levanen, Bethany Lyford and Amber Reiner.

Cody Bicknell, Garrett Jewett, Mabry Shepard and Molly Sutherland placed 13th in Ag Sales.

Dykhuizen was awarded the State Star in Agribusiness, which recognizes a student whose supervised agricultural experience was based in entrepreneurship. Thomas Bailey was a finalist for the State Star in agriculture placement award.

Two students received scholarships. Reiner received a scholarship from the Association of Montana, Turf, Ornamental and Pest Professionals; and Bethany Lyford from Stockman Bank.

The following students were recognized as state degree recipients: Thomas Bailey, Sophie Desch, Julie Duffie, Cole Dykhuizen, Jordan Horn, Morgan Kelly, Beth Lyford, Whitney Levanen, Cassandra Praxel, Kayla Praxel, Layton Praxel, Amber Reiner, Mabry Shepard, Lynde Shriver and Maddie Sutton.

Degrees are given to top members of a state FFA association who meet criteria in the areas of leadership, commitment, work experience and community service, Heupel said.

Justin Heupel said while students typically have a good showing, “this year was particularly top tier.”

Once again the team received the Star Chapter award and named one of Montana’s gold chapters.

Flathead FFA once again received the Star Chapter Award. It was also once again named one of Montana’s gold FFA chapters, which recognizes successful completion of activities that encourage individual growth and teamwork and the state’s top three gold chapter award winners will be rated at the national level for one, two or three stars, according to www.ffa.org.

“This will be the 75th time for national level recognition in this award area since 1942 when the award program began,” Heupel said.

The final round of FFA state career development events - forestry, horse judging, veterinary science - will be held May 6-7 in Great Falls.

Reporter Hilary Matheson may be reached at 758-4431 or hmatheson@dailyinterlake.com.