As the Nelson County high and middle school Future Farmers of America prepare for the 2019 Virginia State Fair, FFA Instructor Cole Ramsey has two additional coaches to help lead the team — two high school seniors.
Sarah Harvey and Wyatt Goolsby, both Nelson County High School seniors, have stepped up to lead the FFA middle and high school teams. Ramsey said while ultimately he is in charge of all the students, it’s nice to have the additional help.
“The best part for me this year is that two seniors are coaching,” Ramsey said.
Goolsby said he’s been in FFA since he was in seventh grade and said he helped coach a little bit last year, too. Although Goolsby said coaching a wide range of ages can be challenging, he enjoys working with newer students to ensure the longevity of the FFA program.
“I really get into showing the younger ones how to do everything,” Goolsby said.
Harvey said although she also helped lead a little last year, coaching this year has challenged her further.
“It’s made me a better leader and made me better understand how to work with the younger students,” Harvey said.
Harvey said the best part of the state fair for her are the amusement rides. For Goolsby, it’s the bow saw competition.
“A lot of work is put into making us successful,” Harvey said.
At the high school on Sept. 19, a group of 20 or so FFA students, ranging from middle school through high school, gathered on lawn by the tennis courts to practice different FFA skills for the state fair the first week of October.
“The kids are paired up randomly and they practice to see who works best with who, for what,” Ramsey explained.
The different areas of events include the log roll and log throw, the bow saw competition, the crosscut saw contest, water pump accuracy contest, crops, junior foresters, and both agriculture and horticulture demonstrations. Ramsey worked with the younger students practicing the log roll competition, while Goolsby helped students practice the crosscut. Inside the high school, Harvey led a handful of students in crop identification practice.
“I’m feeling good,” Kristi Thacker said Sept. 19.
Kristi, a 14-year-old ninth grader, said this is her third year participating in FFA. For the past few years, Kristi has competed in the water pump accuracy contest and said she will most likely do the same this year.
“I like [FFA]. It’s a nice way to meet other people,” Kristi said.
Chris Bradley, a 12-year-old seventh grader said this is his first year participating in FFA.
“I like to do the crosscut. It’s fun. I like working with my partner,” Chris said.
The FFA team at the middle and high school have a number of events coming up. The first week in October they will be participating in the Virginia state fair in Doswell. On Oct. 12, the teams will be hosting a Bluegrass benefit at the high school starting at 4 p.m. The money from that will go toward helping them get to the National FFA Convention and Expo in Indianapolis, Indiana from Oct. 30 through Nov. 2.
“They are doing a good job,” Ramsey said.
Erin Conway covers Nelson County for The News & Advance. Reach her at (434) 385-5524.