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FFA horse judging team advances to national meet

By Julie Mangold Special to the Courier

The Bandera FFA Horse Judging team dominated the State FFA contest with a first place win out of 66 state FFA teams at Texas Tech University in Lubbock on April 16. The win allows Bandera to advance to the National FFA Horse Judging Competition, October 2011 in Indianapolis.

Team members are Morgan Fulenwider, Rhiannon Lewis, Nikki Luft, and Cheyanne Van Vleet. Luft received first place individual honors, beating 258 other students.

"These girls were amazing," said Coach Tessa Gamble. "They have told both Dina (Buettner) and I since the beginning of the season that they wanted to end their high school judging careers with a trip to nationals. And they did it!" Lewis, Fulenwider and Luft will graduate from Bandera High School on May 27.

"The team would like to thank Dina Buettner, 4-H horse judging coach; the Bandera ISD board trustees and school administrators; and the parents whose commitment and time have helped make this dream a reality for this team," said a team member.

The Horse Judging team earned its trip to the state contest by placing first in the Area 7 FFA judging contests held April 9 at Texas A&M University. At that time, 60 area FFA chapters competed. At the area meet, Lewis received sixth place individual honors.

Prior to the area meet, this team also competed at San Angelo Stock Show, placing second; at McLennan College, placing eighth; at West Texas A&M University, placing 13th; and at Clarendon College, placing second.

Pictured: Cheyanne Van Vleet, Nikki Luft, Morgan Fulenwider, and Rhiannon Lewis proudly display the banner and plaque awarded to the team as State Horse Judging Champions 2011.