WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Four members of the Fort Loramie-UVCC FFA Chapter traveled to West Springfield, Massachusetts, on Sept. 14, to represent Ohio in the Agricultural Technology and Mechanical Systems Contest being held in conjunction with The Big E Fair. The Big E is the only Fair hosted by five individual states. Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont are the host states for this event, which is similar to the Ohio State Fair.
Senior FFA members, Justin Puthoff and James Keller, along with juniors Austin Bollheimer and Austin Meyer competed in the nearly five-hour long event. During this time, contestants completed a written exam and had the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and knowledge in a variety of mechanical and technical areas.
Members rotated through stations, which included basic construction framing and rafter layout. During the electrical skill station members had to utilize a portable generator to operate a lighting fixture to determine electrical loads.
Bollheimer, a junior now studying Ag and Diesel Power on the main campus of Upper Valley Career Center said, “The electrical testing portion of the contest was difficult and will be a focus as we prepare for the National Finals.”
In the team activity portion, the Fort Loramie-UVCC FFA members worked together to evaluate, calibrate, and analyze a field sprayer unit. Senior and FFA President Puthoff said, “I am super proud of how well we performed as a team and worked together to accomplish our goal.”
Once the contest had concluded and all scores were calculated, all competing teams attended the awards banquet to honor all teams and announce the contest winners. The Fort Loramie-UVCC FFA members were announced as the contest winners. As individuals, the young men representing Ohio had an exceptional day. Bollheimer lead the team with a third place individual performance; Puthoff was close behind, finishing as the fourth place individual; and Keller placed sixth.
“The flight there was the most exciting, followed closely by the awards ceremony. I had never flown prior to this trip!” said Keller, chapter reporter.
During the trip, FFA members also had the opportunity to visit Boston and see some of the historical sites that have helped shape our country. Sites visited include Paul Revere’s house, the USS Constitution and the site of the Boston Tea Party while following the Freedom Trail.
“Flying for the first time was a super fun experience,” said Meyer. Thanks to some very generous supporters of the local FFA Chapter team members were also treated to local seafood including clams, scallops, lobster and oysters. Sponsors were Laneview Farms, Seger Farms, IMS, Fort Loramie Hardware, Eilerman Insurance, AAG and Wagner’s IGA. Special thanks to the Upper Valley Career Center Administration for their continued support.
The Fort Loramie-UVCC FFA team will compete next at the National FFA Finals in Indianapolis on Oct. 30-31 during the National FFA Convention. The Fort Loramie Agricultural Education Program is a satellite program of the Upper Valley Career Center.