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Bear River Ag Mechanics team is nation’s best

Justin Kilgore, a junior, works on a welding project in the Ag Mechanics shop. Photo by Jared Pittsley

The FFA Ag Mechanics team has drilled their way to the top!

The Bear River Ag Mechanics team won the California FFA Ag Mech competition and qualified to compete at the National level starting on October 16. The team included Alex Nelson, Jared Kilgore, Caleb Marsh, who are Bear River alumni, and Justin Kilgore, a junior. Ag Mechanics teacher Tim Reid coached the team. They made the journey all the way to Indianapolis, Indiana to make their dreams come true. After years of hard work and dedication, Bear River was named the 1st place FFA National Champions in the career development event of Agricultural Mechanics.

To prepare for their trip to National Finals, the team had to put in a lot of studying and practice time at home and with their adviser. Mr. Reid was positive going into the contest.

“We felt really good going into the competition,” said Mr. Reid. “We knew we had a good chance. We just had to not overthink it and focus on what we know.”

Justin Kilgore practiced at school and after school with Mr. Reid any chance he could get. He was also positive before the event.

“I feel our team is very prepared for the competition this weekend, and I have put in many hours of practice and studying,” he said.

The theme for the 2016 National FFA Ag Mechanics Competition was Animal Production Systems. The team felt they could accomplish the task.

“We are setup to do really well because California Ag Mechanic teams have won five times in the past seven years,” said (?) Kilgore. “Plus, our team has beaten other schools who have won in the past.”

The team has had much support from peers, teachers, and the community in order to fund the trip. Many fundraisers and Ag Booster dinners were hosted to help cover the expenses of equipment. 

“We didn’t want the 2nd place curse,” said Marsh. “We were looking for 1st place, and thanks to our coach and community we were able to make this trip happen.”

The team said they had a once in a lifetime experience in Indianapolis, visiting many different cultural sites and bonding as a team. At the same time though, they focused on the prize.

“We kept focused by having fun on the trip and not overthinking it,” said Mr. Reid. “We knew we were good, but we weren’t overconfident. We all wanted to win, that kept us focused.”

The team has been working together for the past fours years in their high school careers. They learned all they could from Mr. Reid, got competition experience, and built team connections.

“I think it was just the idea of finishing what we started,” said Mr. Reid. “We put so much time and effort into being that good. We wanted to get paid off with a win, and to make California proud. … It was like a Zen moment, when they announced Texas, who was our major competitor, was 2nd. It all went silent and we felt a big wave of joy.”

Kilgore agreed that it was a magical moment.

“They called us for 1st place and we all realized that we earned exactly what we wanted, and all the time we put in actually paid off.”

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Bear River Ag Mechanics team is nation’s best