October 28, 2018
FFA Members’ Indy Gearhead Tour
Five members of the Mars Hill FFA (formerly Future Farmers of America) Chapter along with chaperones and Advisor Whitney Williams made the trek to the 91st National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana. Those members earned the right to attend the largest high school youth convention in the United States by accumulating participation points throughout the year. (2018 attendance announced to be 69,500)
FFA activities available to members included sessions at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse and Convention Center featuring motivational speakers including Microsoft Philanthropies’ Mary Snapp, dozens of student and teachers workshops, Career Show and Expo, educational tours, community service activities, and Garth Brooks in concert.
Thursday was a special day for the Mars Hill FFA members who spent the day on a “Gearhead Tour” . The day began with a visit to Ganassi Racing in Indianapolis. This is the IndyCar headquarters for Ganassi. Mars Hill members learned about the attention to detail and professionalism required to compete at the top-level of open wheel racing in America.
Nick Bradstreet noted, “Mitchell and Bryant both talked about meeting Kody and how much fun it was to race against him head to head. I was more interested in the car shop we were at (Ganassi Racing) and what they talked about there, and showed us all the different parts of the shop they need to get the cars ready for race day.”
I liked how the guys at Ganassi Racing were very welcoming and open to all questions,” added Brandon Wright. “They talked about everything and didn’t leave anything out.”
Mars Hill FFA member, Bryant Grass, commented about racing against Kody Swanson, “Racing Kody made me realize how fast professional racers are and how slow I am.”
“What Bryant said was very much true,” said fellow FFA member Mitchell Grass. ” Meeting a professional race car driver and actually racing against him was a lot of fun.”
FFA Chapter Advisor, Whitney Williams who has driven my HTF Motorsports racing kart at Spud Speedway, said, “I didn’t race this time (due to time) but will definitely be putting this down on my bucket list! That was fantastic! Thank you so much for contacting Kody on our behalf. He is one cool cat and the kids had a fantastic time racing him. We are all still laughing.”
Samantha McCrum, noting the history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, “I thought that going to Indianapolis Motor Speedway was a fantastic opportunity for everyone that went. Even if you don’t enjoy racing you would still like going there and learning about the history behind the track and kissing the bricks.”
President Trump addresses FFA members at Convention
President Trump talked to FFA members at the Saturday afternoon session. This was only the fourth time in the 91 year history of the National FFA that a sitting President of the United States spoke live at their convention. The last to do so was President Bush number one in 1991 in Kansas City, Missouri.
Mars Hill FFA Advisor, Whitney Williams said this about President Trump’s visit, ” My highlight of the trip was watching the students excitedly awaiting President Trump’s address. It was extremely fulfilling knowing that I played an, albeit small role, in their ability to witness one of our nation’s leaders specifically address their future’s as agriculturalists.”
Some other FFA National Convention trivia:
- The Garth Brooks concert attendance Wednesday evening was the most at any previous convention.
- John Deere was recognized as the longest running corporate sponsor of the FFA, 75 years
- Culver’s Frozen Custards broke record and handed out over 35,000 bowls of samples.
- The wait to get tickets for President Trump appearance was 3.5 hours.
Karting racing notes
In addition to racing karts, Theriault raced in two enduro stock car races at Spud Speedway. One of those races netted him a top 10.
“It was definitely a great season securing four different championships,” said Theriault. ” I couldn’t have done it without my parents, Gramp Marcel, Mimi, Great Gram Larrabee, or my sponsors. We found some competition at Richmond, which made it interesting. I can say that this has been the best season yet.”
Robert Wickens makes clear his condition as a paraplegic
Wickens on Twitter, “Did my first slide transfer as a paraplegic today. My upper body is getting stronger and stronger and hopefully I’ll be able to do it unassisted soon.”
“I’ve only been posting videos of the small movement in my legs, but the reality is I am far away from walking on my own. Some people are a bit confused with the severity of my injury, so I wanted let you know the reality of it. I’ve never worked harder for anything in my life, and I am giving it all I’ve got to spark those nerves in my legs.”
Team co-owner Sam Schmidt and fellow SPM owner Ric Peterson have vowed to have a car waiting for Wickens to drive when he is able. Schmidt crashed an IndyCar at Walt Disney World Speedway on January 6, 2000. The accident rendered him a quadriplegic, and put him on a respirator for five months.
Time to pray for Robert Wickens.
Let’s go racing,
Soli Deo Gloria