By Will Johnson
HOUSTON COUNTY – For the third year in a row, the Grapeland FFA hosted a land and homesite judging CDE (Career Development Event). The event was held on Wednesday, Feb. 27 on the God’s Gift Ranch, owned by Tom and Vickie Gates.
Over 160 FFA students were on hand representing 26 school districts from a variety of locales.
“Hopefully, we’ll be able to keep coming here,” Grapeland FFA Advisor Gray Graham said as the contest got underway.
“Tom and Vickie Gates’ place is the ideal place to hold this facility-wise. We can get in out of the weather if it gets too bad and we furnish the teams a meal as part of them coming here. That’s not always the case at some contests. Tom and Vickie are more than hospitable towards us, they let us do what we need to do and they welcome us here,” Graham said.
While the contest was successful, the early morning precipitation played a factor in the judging Graham said.
“It was a big factor. We’re judging soil so the soil will be wet. It will be muddy. Sometimes we’ll get seepage into the pits. I tried to get more up on the hills but I do have one bit down in a bottom to try and get some different soil. In the Grapeland area though, you’re always going to find sand,” he said.
Graham said he held his FFA teams back from competing in this contest but did let them run the event.
“I think that they learn a lot from doing that,” Graham said.
The Grapeland FFA Land Judging team is comprised of: Taylor Pennington; Cayden LeBlanc; Maddie McCombs; and Preslie Reynolds. The Homesite Team is made up of: Alyssa Dilli; J.D. Martin; Amy Crook; and Mary Jane Watson.
“We’re also missing KeKe Harris, along with Amy, because they’re at the state basketball tournament. We’ve also got past GHS graduates Rebecca Turner and Nathan Little who showed up to help. They were on the team that won state for us and went on to Nationals,” Graham said.
In the Land Judging competition, Onalaska finished first with a score of 759. Pearland was second with 729, Rusk was third with 728, Deer Park was fourth with 709; and Anderson-Shiro was fifth with 686.
Oakwood finished eighth with 558 points, Latexo came in at 13 with 389 points and Elkhart finished at 18 with 220 points.
The top 10 individuals were: 1) Stacey Gillis – 288; 2) Brady Neuman – 253; 3) Hunter Roberts – 253; 4) Kierra Anstee – 253; 5) Luke Fretwell – 247; 6) Drew Morten – 244; 7) Christian Kelanek – 244; 8) Brayden Pike – 243; 9) Cesar Rosas – 239; and 10) Michael Sanchez – 237.
The Homesite results showed Teague in first place with 1067 points, Anderson-Shiro in second with 1029, Madisonville in third with 1015, Central Heights in fourth with 1003 and Klein Cain in fifth with 966 points.
Latexo finished eighth with 845 points and Elkhart finished 13th with 549 points.
The top 10 individuals were: 1) Austin Longoria – 366; 2) Abby Ross – 360; 3) Kendall Thompson – 360; 4) Jacob Catoe – 352; 5) Evan Schultz – 349; 6) Ashlyn Jones – 344; 7) Adrian Edwards – 339; 8) Hope Wheeler – 339; 9) McKenna Pavelock – 335; and 10) McKenna Holloway – 334.