As the 2016-2017 school year wrapped up, the Hotchkiss FFA members spent their summer wisely by attending the Colorado State FFA Convention.
The 89th Colorado State FFA Convention was held in Pueblo in June 2017. We had over 20 members attend this past year. Before the convention even got started, Coley Wondra, Hotchkiss FFA advisor, planned a trip to the Royal Gorge Bridge. Everyone really enjoyed themselves and said they can't wait for more trips! State Convention consisted of the state officers' retiring addresses and keynote speakers. Apart from the actual convention, members had activities they could participate in such as the volleyball tournament. The most exciting part of state convention was Morgan Miller, 2017-2018 Hotchkiss FFA chapter president, who participated in the public speaking contest. Morgan didn't finish in first place, but had a good run.We also had two of our members, Morgan Miller and Corbin Beck, achieve their state degree. State Convention is always a great FFA experience for the new and old members.
With the new school year starting up, we have a new officer team in place -- Morgan Miller, president; Colton Peebles, vice president; Ashley Ziemer, secretary; Amber Mattler, reporter; Bruce Turnbull, treasurer; Ruby Shiftlet, sentinel; and Teagan Sommer, executive committee. The new year started with our annual family barbecue. All members and parents were welcomed to come hang out, visit, and enjoy well prepared food. Then, the new freshmen FFA members appeared at the "Becoming Involved as a Greenhand" (BIG) Conference in Montrose. This was a really fun and successful event, considering this assembly is a freshman's first chance to really experience the family effect FFA has.
October also held events for the FFA members to enjoy and experience. On Oct. 4, District Leadership Conference (DLC) was held in Colbran. We had over 16 members come along to this conference along with the two district officers from Hotchkiss, Morgan Miller and Amber Mattler. DLC is a great way to get into the FFA lifestyle. The district officers prepared a great set of workshops about leadership, influences on people, and more. At the District Leadership Conference, the Hotchkiss FFA chapter won best chapter and received a plaque.
In the last full week of October 2017 we had seven members attend the 90th National FFA Convention and Expo. We left on Sunday, Oct. 22, and spent the entire week in Indianapolis, Ind. This convention is the cherry on top of FFA conventions. Tens of thousands of members attend every year and to experience that was breathtaking. Aside from the convention we set out to visit Churchill Downs, Keeneland and Claiborne Farm. With October wrapping up we held our local Halloween party again. Every year it is a big hit and personally I think it gets a little better every year.
With 2017 coming to an end, we had our local speech contest on Nov. 10. We had six members move onto the district level that competed a week later on Nov. 17. We did not have anyone place first and qualify for state, but everyone was very well placed and they all had a great time. In December we had the district parliamentary procedure contest. Hotchkiss won second with Cedaredge in first. It was a very close contest, so Hotchkiss and Cedaredge had to have a rematch. That was the end of 2017 for Hotchkiss FFA.
Starting off the new year strong we had the quiz bowl contest on Jan. 31. Hotchkiss didn't win, but all said it was one of the most exciting and fun events they might ever do.
FFA Week is Feb. 26 through March 2 and Hotchkiss has a week planned full of fun. We will be having a movie night, stick horse races, hay bale relays, and much more. Also coming up is our annual labor auction on March 21. Advertising will be out shortly for this event.
Please be sure to be involved with our chapter by liking our Facebook page "Hotchkiss FFA Chapter" to be informed of all upcoming and current events. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via email at AmberMattler@gmail.com or phone at 970-462-1186 or the Hotchkiss High School at 970-872-3882.
Hotchkiss FFA Reporter
The seventh annual Eckert Crane Days, the annual viewing of the sandhill cranes migrating north from New Mexico through Colorado's West Slope, will be March 16-18. Representatives from the Black Canyon Chapter of the Audubon Society (BCAS) will be at the viewing site east of Eckert at Fruitgrowers Reservoir, 9 to 11 a.m. each day, to answer questions and provide binoculars and spotting scopes.