Elgin, Fletcher students place at district competition

CACHE — Seven students from Elgin, and four from Fletcher, placed in their respective categories at Monday’s American Farmers and Ranchers Southwest District Speech Contest in Cache.

Here’s a list of the students who placed, along with their categories:

• Bonham Eslick, Elgin, first in intermediate agribusiness.

• Katelyn Lanier, Elgin, second in intermediate agribusiness.

• Peyton Deel, Elgin, first in intermediate natural resources.

• Laela Begley, Elgin, third in intermediate ag policy.

• Emry Lee, Elgin, third in junior American Farmers and Ranchers/Oklahoma Farmers Union.

• Merice Cottrell, Elgin, third in junior agri-science.

• Coy Davidson, Elgin, first in intermediate AFR/OFU.

• Jacob Mannen, Fletcher, intermediate agri-science.

• Gage Grimes, Fletcher, second in intermediate ag policy.

• Bekah Whitmon, Fletcher, fifth in senior agri-science.

• Caleb Mannen, Fletcher, first in senior agribusiness.

Monday’s event marked the 76th year of the statewide AFR contest, the organization said in a news release. The event has changed over the years but has kept its agricultural theme.

This year’s speech categories are AFR/OFU, agricultural policy, agribusiness, natural resources and agri-science. The contest is open to all students in fourth through 12th grades.

Nearly 500 students are competing in AFT district speech contests this season, and more than 160 finalists will move on to the state contest Dec. 4 at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater.

“Public speaking is one of the most valuable skills young people can gain for their future careers,” AFR Cooperative President Scott Blubaugh said in the news release. “We are honored to host the 76th annual AFR speech contest, which has a long-standing tradition of fostering professionalism and confidence in Oklahoma’s youth.”

The speech contest is one of many AFR/OFU youth program traditions, according to the news release. The organization also hosts a youth leadership summit, livestock judging and grading contests and other events.