The North Bend Eagle

NBC FFA land judging team in OKThe NBC FFA land judging team of Eddie Ruskamp, Tyler Ortmeier, and Paul Reznicek pose after the national awards banquet held at the national cowboy hall of fame in Oklahoma City.

FFA locals compete on national dirt

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 5/22/13

The North Bend FFA land judging team of seniors Eddie Ruskamp, Deven Ortmeier, junior Tyler Ortmeier and sophomore Paul Reznicek finished 49th out of 110 teams competing in the National Land Judging contest.

Land judging is an extension of soils units that are taught in plant science and agronomy classes during the school year. Teams for the land contest are put together based on classroom grades and actual practices that are held in the field. The contest has students look at several different soil properties, including texture, permeability, slope, depth of soil and erosion. Then the students use that recommendation to come up with a land class determination for best use and make recommendations based on that land class.

The NBC team placed fourth out of 100 teams competing at the northeast area contest held in Stanton to qualify for the state contest April 3-4. The local team went on to place first at the state contest out of 40 teams. Paul Reznicek said the competition at the national contest was a higher level.

“You had to put quite a bit of thought in what you put on your card,” he said.

Each person is judged individually and the scores added together to get the team score.

dirtTyler Ortmeier (kneeling), Deven Ortmeier and Paul Reznicek work together in a practice hole.

The national contest was held April 30 to May 2 at a site 40 miles southwest of Oklahoma City near the town of Amber, Okla. The NBC team got permission from the school board to miss three days of school to attend the contest. That meant they left after Mayfest on April 29 for the drive to Oklahoma.

The practice days were nice and sunny with temps in the 80s. They practiced at holes about 20 minutes from their hotel.

“The great thing about practice was we all had the opportunity to work together,” sponsor DJ Mottl said. “During the contest it is an individual event.”

The day of competition, it was 37 degrees with 30 mph wind and heavy rain. The contestants were not allowed to get back in their vehicles to avoid any irregularities. This did not dampen the spirits of the North Bend students.

“It was raining the whole time,” Tyler Ortmeier said. “It was crappy weather, but I liked the contest – definitely a positive experience.”

The soils in Oklahoma also presented a challenge for the NBC youth. Oklahoma soils vary from Nebraska mostly in depth to a limiting layer which could be rock, shale or some kind of hard layer that roots cannot penetrate. Nebraska’s deep soils are measured in feet. Many of the soils at the contest were only 15 to 40 inches deep.

“The soil was red, but the same textures as (Nebraska) soil,” Tyler Ortmeier said. “The practices really helped out.”

In the final competition all contestants judge the same holes or sites so that scores can be compared equally.

“It was neat seeing how the soils changed,” Eddie Ruskamp said. “How it is different compared to ours. You saw there was no actual limitation to the land.”
Of the 377 individual competing Tyler Ortmeier, placed 66th; Ruskamp 157th; Reznicek 244th and Deven Ortmeier 269th.

The boys met people from different states and with different backgrounds in farming. Deven Ortemeier said that it was neat to see so many people involved in FFA.

“It’s the best trip I ever went on,” he said.

Mottl took the students sightseeing to the Oklahoma City National Bombing Memorial and Museum, National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Museum, Thunder NBA basketball arena and the OU Sooner stadium.

The students left for home after the awards banquet. The boys all said time with sponsor Mottl made the trip special.

The group arrived home at 3:30 a.m. May 3 and all were in school later that day.

“It was a long day,” Reznicek said, “but well worth it. A once-in-a-lifetime experience. It was cool to see different kids with the same passion I had.”

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