Fifteen members of Park Rapids High School’s FFA chapter traveled to Central Lakes College in Brainerd on Wednesday for the school's first opportunity to compete in team FFA events in 28 years.

According to FFA Advisor Stephen Funk, all three of the chapter’s teams qualified for state in their respective competitions and will represent Park Rapids at the state FFA convention, originally scheduled for April 19-21 at the University of Minnesota. The state contest has been postponed due to COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

The school’s fish and wildlife team – Avery Wolff, Tanner Hensel, Naomi Knaack, Max Crist and Eli DeVore – took eighth place in the region in a very competitive contest of 20 teams. Their contest required students to identify Minnesota species of mammals, fish, birds, insects, reptiles and amphibians and included a written exam.

The small animals veterinary science contest focuses on the skills and knowledge a student would need to become a small animal veterinarian. Students learn about anatomy and physiology, breed characteristics, nutrition, animal handling, medication, parasites and more. The Park Rapids team – Caitlin Kalita, Kelsey Raidt, Mercedes Forseman, Allie Edelman and Roman Martinson – brought home seventh-place honors to punch their ticket for state.

The meats contest focuses on cuts of meat as well as quality and yield grading of beef, pork and lamb. Students need to know which cooking methods are acceptable with each cut of meat. The Park Rapids meats team really brought home the bacon, earning the top team score. Advancing to represent Region 2 at state, they’re on their way to earning the chapter's first region FFA championship in nearly three decades. It was an all around team effort from members Isaac Knapp (second place individually), Maddie Guida (third), Sophie Guida (fourth), Allison Offerdahl (sixth) and Autumn Kietzman following just outside of the top 10.