About 1,400 students from 46 schools made their way to Lennox last week to compete in the Lennox Sundstrom FFA contest.
FFA adviser Kasey Trocke said that this year’s event had the most since Covid. Before Covid, numbers were in the 1,200 range.
“Lennox has always been known to be a really great contest to go to. I grew up with the understanding that how well you do at Lennox will determine how you do at state,” Trocke said.
In her first year as the FFA adviser in Lennox and as an ag teacher, this was Trocke’s first time preparing an entire event. To prepare, she looked back at notes from past years and asked the Lennox Sundstrom FFA Support Group for information. She also reached out to several advisers from other schools who had helped with certain areas in the past.
Students came to compete in 14 different career development events (CDEs). From floriculture to horse to ag mechanics, students learned while competing.
To make the contest run smoothly, Trocke needed to reach out to various places in the community to host the different areas.
“Fitting 1,400 people into the Lennox High School was not a feasible thing on top of a school day,” she said.
To ease the number of extra students in the school, all of them started in the gym about 10 a.m. March 20 and then they were dispersed to each of the locations where each individual contest was happening.
Trocke noted her gratitude to each of the places that hosted a contest - vet science and natural resources at Lennox Ebenezer Presbyterian Church, ag business management at First English Lutheran Church, food science at St. Magdalen’s Catholic Church, agronomy at Second Reformed Church, poultry and floriculture at the 4-H Building, horse at Hammerstrom Arena and dairy cattle at Norling Dairy by Beresford. At the school, they hosted livestock at the hoop barn, nursery and landscape in the wrestling room, meats in the mezzanine, milk quality in the gym and ag mechanics in the shop.
“I’m very appreciative of every place that allowed us to do a contest there because it’s one of those things to find adequate places to hold a hundred people at a time,” Trocke said. “To make this a successful contest, we have to work with the community. It’s been very great to do that this year.”
Schools arrive between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. before leaving for their destinations.
“It’s just a swarm of people coming in doing registration, checking in, getting students to where they need to be at so when 10 o’clock hit we started sending students to their location,” Trocke said.
Lennox Sundstrom FFA members have competed at Bridgewater-Emery, Lennox, Flandreau and Tri-Valley. A small group will go to the South Dakota State University Little International on March 31. They will go to Howard on April 3 and the state FFA convention April 16-18.