Chinook FFA Finishes Strong at Fall Districts


October 18, 2023

Thirteen members of the Chinook Chapter of the FFA attended Fall Districts in Lewistown on October 3 when eighteen teams from across Montana competed in Livestock Judging and Horse Evaluation. Based on their performance scores, the Chinook Chapter will be sending two teams to State FFA competition this spring.

The Livestock Judging team from Chinook was comprised of Wylee Simenson, Wacee Simenson, Brockton Elliot, Ashlyn Hofeldt, Wesson Scovel, Ben Hofeldt, Lane Wicks, and Tucker Crawford. Although that group placed ninth overall, Wylee Simenson earned first as an individual on Chinook’s team. Simenson’s younger brother Wacee captured second, Brockton Elliot earned third, and Ashlyn Hofeldt came in fourth on their team. Because of their high scores, those final four qualified to compete at State in Livestock Judging. Wesson Scovel will attend as the team’s alternate.

During the Livestock Evaluation event, members worked within teams to rank breeding and market classes of cattle, sheep, and swine and gave oral reasons to back up their decisions. These rankings occur after observations of the livestock, where competitors recall the desirable traits in marketing and breeding livestock, and then select livestock that will satisfy consumer demands and provide increased economic returns to producers.

Those who competed in Horse Evaluation were Emma Paulsen, Aislinn Handy, Sterling Bemis, Ashlyn Hofeldt, Bella Brown, and Megan Flanagan. This group placed fourth overall. Individually, Emma Paulsen placed first on Chinook’s team and tenth overall. Aislinn Handy placed second on Chinook’s team, followed by Sterling Bemis in third and Ashlyn Hofeldt in fourth. Given their qualifying scores, those top four will represent the Chinook Chapter as the Horse Evaluation team at the State FFA contest. Bella Brown will serve as that team’s alternate. Students who participated in the Horse Evaluation event gained new insights into equine science by evaluating and ranking horses based on breed characteristics, conformation, and performance. Participants defended their decisions through oral reasons in front of a panel of judges.

In addition, students solved problems related to everything from the nutrition and reproduction of horses to the tack/equipment and feed used to care for horses. Participants strengthened their leadership, observation, analysis, critical thinking, and communication skills while also developing and exercising a competitive team spirit and building an awareness of career opportunities within the equine industry.

About her competitors, FFA Advisor Mitzi Cecrle said: “I am really proud of these two teams. They came to the required practices with enthusiasm to learn, and I believe, for them, it’s all up from here. We are going to have some practice competitions between now and state, plus we’ll keep up on practices in the classroom, at lunch, and after school to touch up some weaknesses so that we can go to state with a couple of strong teams.”


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