Submitted photos The first team member of Agricultural Technology and Mechanical Systems took a group photo at the National FFA Conference in Indianapolis. From the left are Kordell Kraft, Thatcher Volk, Zach Jaeger and Carson Mattern. Kraft, Volk, and Jaeger are fourth-year rugby high school students, and the 2021 rugby high school graduate Mattern is studying at the North Dakota College of Science in Wahpeton. Mattern and Kraft were also recognized for scoring the top 10 of all individuals in the game.
On October 30th, football first responders and community residents extended a heroic welcome to members of the top FFA agricultural technology and machinery team in the United States
At the FFA National Convention in Indianapolis from October 25th to 30th, three members of the Rugby FFA Agricultural Technology and Machinery team returned to football after being named the 2021 Agricultural Technology and Machinery System National Champion.
Zach Jaeger, Kordell Kraft, and Thatcher Volk took an SUV to Rugby High School with their consultant Kasey Okke, who teaches agricultural courses at Rugby High School. Their teammate Carson Mattern graduated from RHS in May and returned to Wahpeton to study at North Dakota State College of Science.
Volcker hugged his mother in the high school parking lot and said: "This is shocking. We were still in awe and discovered this a few days ago." "We are still excited about this. This is something we will always remember ."
Oak said that teams from 38 states participated in the event. The winners were announced at the annual awards dinner of the national FFA.
Volcker said that the three-part competition “started with the welding part. We made a subframe. The four of us worked together to communicate. Therefore, Carson and Kordell did most of the welding work, while Zach and I Drill holes where the pins pass and place mappings on them. We have to work together as a team to do this."
"The next part is the use of hydraulics on the (Caterpillar) skid steering system," Kraft said. "So, there are several different parts. There is a part to identify the hydraulic components on the skid steer. Another is to read the schematic diagram and piece them together. Then, we also participated in the work of reassembling the hydraulic motor. Our The last part is to answer general questions about hydraulic systems."
"I think we are quite confident in our performance. It is difficult to tell when the other 20 teams are in the same position as you," Jaeger said.
"I think we all feel pretty confident," Kraft agreed. "You will never know before the awards ceremony, but in the morning after the awards ceremony, we knew that Carson and I were in the top ten and the team was in the top four. We didn't know our final result until that night. Suspenseful."
"It seems that we are always sitting there," Jaeger said of the awards dinner. "They announced fourth place, and we were like,'Yes!' Then, they announced third place, and we were like, "Yes! "When they announced second place, I thought,'Please, let us win. We are so close! So when they announced us, it felt really good."
"I kind of wished Carson was here," Oak said. "He is a bit like the rock of the team. He is our top man in the state and the nation. He is an important part of it."
"We don't know if he will compete with us when he starts college in August. He is studying electrical projects at NDSCS," Okke added. "They only allowed them to miss so many days because they got skilled labor hours in their plan to become electricians. So, he pulled down some lines with the help of his mother and talked with professors and things like that, so he could be with us. Get up, we are sure that he is very happy with us."
"I think this is definitely a team problem," Volcker said. "We do this as a team, so none of us is better than the other. We all did this together. Therefore, mutual cooperation and communication are part of this national honor."
Oak said that Mattern and Kraft also entered the top 10 individual results in the national competition. Among about 145 people, Matten ranked fifth and Kraft ranked sixth.
Okke said that the team's scoring played a vital role in football's victory. "I think when we are on stage and announcing individuals before the team, we know that Missouri also has two in the top ten. We are the only other chapter in the top ten and the only other state. We know that there will be between the two. Very close. Then, when they announced, Missouri had the first and third people."
"I don't know what these guys are thinking, but they are like,'Oh, man, Missouri may have got us,'" Oak said of the runner-up. "But they scored all four points, all four points are important. These people are in the top 20 in the country. Carson is fifth; Kordell is sixth; Thatcher is 12th, Zach Ranked 18th. So, it’s very special. It requires a whole group of people. Even if your opponent is a good person, and these are points you can’t get, we ended up winning by 13 points.”
Okke added, "In terms of personal scoring, they are not far behind. I think Thatcher is only 0.6 points from the top 10, and Zach is only 3 points from the top 10. It's really nervous."
Oak said he won another national championship. "I think North Dakota formed a super team of individuals from all over the state in 1989 or 1990. The football team has one person and they won. According to me As we know, no all-football team has won a national championship."
Oak later said that he discovered that Wyatt Hoffatt won the national championship in agricultural technology and machinery in 1990. His coach Quentin Christman is also from football.
All team members stated that they believe that national recognition will help them in their future careers. Jaeger and Kraft stated that they are participating in an internship program for diesel engine mechanics through Gooseneck Equipment. Volcker said that this experience "will help me decide something, but I'm not sure yet."
A statement from the national FFA organization said: “The top ten individuals and national winning team members received cash prizes in recognition of their success in the event. This (career development activity) and all cash prizes are provided by the Equipment Manufacturers Association , Caterpillar, Darling Components, Firestone Agricultural Solutions and the American Poultry and Egg Association."
Okke thanks his team for "all the hard work. They made it fun."
Okke added: “I want to thank the parents and family for helping them. Brad Wangler of Rugby Electric came in and worked with us on the electrical part. The gooseneck tool was helpful. In our spring competition, they brought a piece of work. Of balers and a live tractor, they allowed us to see them before the state assembly. A week before we left, these people spent a few hours with their hydraulic trainers. So they volunteered their time , Spare no effort to line up for these people."
“Bruce Gannarelli used to be a welding instructor at Rugby High, and he helped us learn how to perform flux-cored welding,” Okke added. "He told me how to set up the machine and so on. When we were there, the Rugby Eagles Club donated money to pay for our work clothes. Rugby FFA Alumni raised money to let us go. The North Dakota FFA Foundation and state alumni provided us with Travel scholarships. Rugby Jaycees paid for our air tickets. Many people either contribute financially or help us gain knowledge. This is a huge community effort. We are grateful to everyone."
Okke added: "I also want to thank the police and firefighters for escorting into the city." Okke also thanked the North Dakota Association of Agricultural Educators. "The agricultural teacher team is a very close team, always helping and supporting each other."
Thatcher Volk’s mother Lisa Volk said: “Our mothers wanted to say from day one that Mr. Okke led these guys to national champions. He organized and prepared them in a way that he knew he had a winning team. , So thank you Mr. Okke."
"All of us agree that we couldn't do this without him," Kraft said.
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