State FFA Includes Mechanics Event in Grand Island

By Steve White

Going under the hood of a big rig, students like Lane Rogers of Southern Valley put their automotive know-how to the test.

"We're going through a semi to check for DOT violations and all that stuff," Rogers explained.

It's a rare opportunity for a high school kid, but it's also a contest. In fact it's part of the state FFA convention. That event is held in Lincoln but for the first time, ag mechanics moves west to the new home of the Nebraska State Fair in Grand Island.

Duane Waddle of Central Community College coordinated the event. He said the college wanted to host it within its 25 county area.

"Fonner Park and the State Fair have been very accommodating to let us come out here and working with us on a very nice facility," he said.

Waddle said the focus was on real world experiences.

He said, "A lot of farms today have a semi or two or three. So whether you're on your own farm or for somebody else, there's a good chance you'll be operating a truck."

Teams from 34 FFA chapters traveled to Grand Island for the one-day event before continuing on to Lincoln for the rest of the state convention and all it offers.

Waddle said, "As far as I'm concerned it's one of the best youth organizations in the country and it's very broad organization, more than farming."

That includes kids like Lane Rogers who's been learning about the machines that make the farm run.

"Get a lot of experience out of farming," he said.

The Nebraska State Patrol assisted with the event, as students inspected a semi. Friday night during Good Evening Nebraska, NTV will take a look through the eyes of a state trooper who's got a farm background, and we'll meet kids from Sargent taking part in this competition.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off