FFA student wins state tractor driving competition

Published 4:25 pm Friday, February 16, 2018

Thursday night, Bainbridge High School principal, Roy Mathews and Superintendent, Tim Cochran presented Jackson Buchanan with an award after he won the FFA state tractor driving competition.

Buchanan originally got involved in FFA after his dad was involved in high school and his great grandfather always encouraged it and supported it. His middle school teacher, Mr. Dunn, only furthered his interest after demonstrating the amount of insight it could give young students into the agricultural field.

After getting involved, Buchanan learned to operate a tractor. His teacher, Mr. Mulkey, had a tractor similar to the size of that students would compete with and set up a course in his back yard for Buchanan to practice on. The welding teacher, Mark Lashley, also helped Buchanan prepare. He took an old axel and hitched it to the back of the tractor, so Buchanan could practice attaching an implement, which is essential in competition.

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Buchanan explained the state tractor driving competition is similar to a driving test. Before driving the tractor, Buchanan had to explain the pre-warm up procedure. He then drove the tractor to the implement shed, where he had to attach the implement to the tractor. He then pulled the implement out of the shed and through a designed course.

Buchanan was shocked when he won. He said he had watched the kids go before him and they all complained of a faulty safety feature. When it was his turn, he said he was a little agitated and scared they would take off points because of this.

“When Mr. Lashley originally called I thought he was just kidding, I was really surprised,” Buchanan said.

Buchanan is the first BHS student to win the state tractor driving competition. He said he owes it all to FFA, though.

“My time in FFA has been amazing, especially when Mr. Mulkey came in… it was weird to see how a community so widespread can come together and support something you think no one knows about and raise money so we can compete in things like this.” Buchanan said.

Buchanan’s mother, LeAnn Buchanan is also thankful for everything FFA has done. She thinks FFA is a very special and unique organization and is excited to see what will come next.

Buchanan will receive a plaque and official recognition in Macon, Georgia at the statewide convention with over 6,000 students later in the year.