Working from sunrise until the wee hours of the next morning has become a normal summer day for Turlock High FFA members as they put the finishing touches on their welding projects for the California State Fair.
The students have put together 10 projects including trailers, a tilt bed and an astonishing 18-foot laser scraper. Many of their projects will also be submitted at the Stanislaus County Fair this week.
THS junior Trey Smith put forth over 900 hours of labor, working night and day, to make his laser scraper, which he plans to win first prize with at the State Fair.
“I feel pretty confident about this project,” said Smith.
Smith started his project back in January and has worked on it a couple of hours a day during the school year. Sometimes he would even work after school and weekends. But the main hours were put in during the summertime.
Some of the things he has to do to put his orchard float together include welding, cutting pieces, beveling the sides, drilling, measuring and making sure everything is intact, he said.
“It will all be worth it if I place first in the project,” he said.
"During competition each judge looks at the overall quality, practicality, and functionality of the project,” said THS agriculture teacher Chad Russell.
Russell, who won the John Thurman Award at the California State Fair last year, has led his students to victory in previous years at State and county fairs.
“We take a lot of pride in what we do. None of these projects would have taken place without the community and administration support. It takes a tremendous amount of time to run a full-scale shop. Local businesses give our students discounts when they purchase items and even help them with any technical question they may have,” said Russell.