BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
DONNELLSON – With the 2019 Lee County Fair in the mirror, the board is evaluating successes and with that must be included the second year of the trades competition.
What was just a couple of students submitting a couple projects in the events first year in 2018, has now grown to more than 12 students with 18 projects in 2019.
Fair Board member Brian Foecke, who spearheaded the creation of the program last year said this year’s numbers of submissions was a pleasant surprise.
“We went from just a couple kids with some projects last year to what has grown to has more than a dozen kids and 18 projects this year,” Foecke said.
“That was pretty phenomenol and were very thrilled with that.”
He said students turned in projects in all three classes of welding, general carpentry, and finished carpentry and thanks in part to sponsorships and a Southeastern Community College’s premiere sponsorship, the board was able to hand out prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place including three $250 scholarships that went to kids that will either be attending SCC this fall or next fall.
Foecke said it wasn’t an overnight revelation or anything, but trades have been being overlooked and it’s nice to see the response to the fair’s inclusion of the program.
“I think we’ve overlooked the trades for too many years. This wasn’t overnight, we’ve seen a pivot and push over the last five years or so, but I certainly hope it continues to grow.”
He said the majority of the participants this year were from Central Lee, but he hopes next year more of Lee County high schools get involved. He also a participant from Mt. Pleasant this year.
Advisors from several of the schools assisted with the program and identifying students and projects to the fair and Foecke said he was happy with the assistance.
The students can submit any project they’ve worked on through the year for judging and the contest is geared towards students in 7th through 12th grades.
Winners were as follows:
Finish Carpentry: 1) Dylan Stuecker – with a cutting board, 2) Riley Stewart – with a backyard wooden patio cooler, 3) Adam Boeck – with a bedroom night stand.
General Carpentry: 1) Devin Tweedy – a split log engraved with his family name for outside in front of house, 2) Eric Hornung – a bench made from old iron wheels with a wooden seat, 3) Dylan Stuecker – a Hay feeder for his sheep
Welding: 1) Adam Boeck – a utility trailer, 2) Connor Moore – 2 steel stools, 3) Dylan Hatfield – a metal Trellis
The three SCC scholarship winners were: Devin Tweedy, Dylan Hatfield, and Emma Rubey with a Frog made out of horse shoes.
“As the program grows we may come up with more programs. One kid submitted projects in welding and carpentry, and I think he’d love to see a competition in auto mechanics,” Foecke said. “But we’re still trying to get our arms this thing and we’re going to see where it goes.”