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Blinn Agricultural Mechanics Project Show draws 202 entries from around the state

Hay accumulator, bay boat win top prizes

May 2, 2023

After their first experience at the Blinn College District Agricultural Mechanics Project Show, elementary school students Hudson, Reese, and Jeret are hooked.

The trio from Palacios won third place in the feeder class with their bull bunk feeder at last Wednesday’s show. As third and fourth graders, they were the youngest competitors at the show, which drew 202 entries this year to the W.J. “Bill” Rankin Agricultural Complex on the Brenham Campus.

“They’re very proud of their project,” said Stephanie Busby, head of the Palacios High School Math Department and Reese’s mother. “They worked with our woodshop and construction trades teacher a lot after school. Every day, they would get off the bus, change clothes, and go to the shop. They put in quite a few hours.”

The three showed their feeder at the Matagorda County Fair, doing well there, then decided to bring it to Blinn’s ag mechanics project show.

“What makes me the proudest is that they took ownership of their project,” Stephanie Busby said. “They learned how to work together and to design and build it. When something went wrong, they’d feel that struggle, that defeat, and they picked themselves up and recovered from it.

“Now they’re talking about building a really big trailer for next year. They’re very ambitious. They have big dreams. I look forward to seeing what they can do, especially by the time they’re in high school. They’re hooked.”

The youngsters are looking to follow in the footsteps of this year’s grand and reserve grand champions.

Ty Chandler, a member of the Jacksonville High School FFA, exhibited the grand champion with his self-loading hay accumulator. The reserve grand champion was Maizee Strelec’s bay boat and aluminum trailer. Strelec is a member of the Louise High School FFA.

Chandler said his massive project, capable of self-loading seven or eight large round bales of hay, took about 500 hours to plan and build.

“It took me 100 hours to design it and 400 hours to build it,” he said. “I’m going to keep this one and build some for others.”

Stelec’s project, which she named “One ‘N Done,” is personal.

“I love fishing and wanted to build something that interested me,” she said. “I figured a boat would be the perfect thing. I plan to keep it and catch a lot of fish on it.”

Strelec estimated she spent about 300 hours building the boat and another 50 hours on the trailer.

Steven Ames, a member of the Dayton High School FFA, brought what is the “Cadillac” of chicken coops to the show. Ames’ “chicken tractor” was selected the top Division 2 entry.

“It’s mobile and can move around the yard so they (chickens) get fresh grass every day,” he said. “I started in August and worked on it off and on until around Thanksgiving. Then I started hitting it hard because I knew this show was coming up. I finished about mid-February.”

Ames’ mobile coop, capable of holding about 60 chicks, is battery-powered, with actuators that can raise it up or down and an electric motor that can scoot it along at about 2-3 miles an hour. It even has a light sensor that opens a gate between the roosting area and the feeding area at daylight. Ames estimated he worked 400-500 hours on his project.

Blinn freshmen Allison Reagan and Naomi Browning, both members of the ag mechanics judging team, volunteered to help with the show.

“I never did this in high school,” said Reagan, from Hutto. “It’s pretty neat all the things that these kids can build.”

Division winners were:

Division 1

  • Class 1 – First, Jacksonville FFA; second, Rudder FFA; third, Caney Creek 4-H.
  • Class 2 – First, Elgin FFA.
  • Class 3 – First, El Campo FFA; second, Como-Pickton FFA; third, Van Vleck FFA.
  • Class 4 – First, Sudden FFA.
  • Class 5 – First, Cedar Park FFA; second, El Campo FFA; third, Tomball FFA.
  • Class 6 – First, Troup FFA; second, Georgetown FFA; third, Gillespie County 4-H.

Division 2

  • Class 7 – First, Van FFA; second, East Central FFA; third, Troy FFA.
  • Class 8 – First, Mercedes FFA; second, Bremond FFA.
  • Class 9 – First, Liberty County 4-H; second, Hallsville FFA; third, Snook FFA.
  • Class 10 – First, Smithville FFA; second, Gonzales FFA; third, Palacios FFA.
  • Class 11 – First, Klein Forest FFA; second, Aubrey FFA; third, Louise FFA.
  • Class 12 – First, Hallsville FFA; second, Diboll FFA; third, Snook FFA.
  • Class 13 – First, West Hardin FFA; second, Mercedes FFA; third, Glen Rose FFA.
  • Class 14 – First, Sam Rayburn-Ivanhoe FFA; second, Fairfield FFA.
  • Class 15 – First, El Campo FFA.
  • Class 16 – First, Georgetown FFA; second, Spring FFA; third, Agricultural Science and Technology Academy.
  • Class 17 – First, Georgetown FFA; second, Foster FFA.
  • Class 18 – First, Ennis FFA; second, Buckholts FFA; third, Rockdale FFA.
  • Class 19 – First, El Campo FFA; second, Palacios FFA; third, West Sabine FFA.
  • Class 20 – First, Van Vleck FFA; second, Ennis FFA; third, Gonzales FFA.
  • Class 21 – First, Louise FFA; second, Thorndale FFA; third, Gustine FFA.
  • Class 22 – First, Cuero FFA; second, Brenham FFA; third, Evant FFA.
  • Class 26 – First, Floresville FFA; second, Brazos FFA; third, Snook FFA.

Winner of the welding contest was Paden Maass, Elgin FFA. The cutting contest winner was Hugo Reyna, El Campo FFA.

Blinn’s Agricultural Sciences Program is approximately four times the size of any other two-year agricultural program in the state and is based at the W.J. “Bill” Rankin Agricultural Complex on the Blinn-Brenham Campus. For more information, visit

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