Shane Brennan named Reserve Champion for Delo National Tractor Restoration Program

NORTH COUNTY — Over the Halloween weekend, local FFA students traveled to Indianapolis, Indiana, for the 94th Annual National FFA Convention.

The Central Coast continuously makes its mark in the Delo National Tractor Restoration Program, and this year is no different. 

Shane Brennan and John Paul Schmidt of Templeton, and Cameron McEntire of Atascadero placed in the top twelve finalists for the National program. Brennan took home Reserve Champion, and McEntire’s tractor was the Fan-Favorite Runner Up.

Additionally, Annika Enstrom of San Luis Obispo’s tractor was the Grand Champion. She also earned Best Photo.

Finalists for the National Program are chosen from tractor restoration competitions across the Nation. San Luis Obispo County students were chosen from the JB Dewar Tractor Restoration Program at the California Mid-State Fair.

Each year, JB Dewar and Chevron Delo reward young students who have restored an antique tractor by providing them with a platform to share their workmanship, along with the distribution of scholarships. JB Dewar mentors and advises students, teaching them business skills, teamwork, project management, budgeting, planning, and marketing lessons in their restoration process.

This year, Brennan and Schmidt took home first and second place at the fair. Brennan restored a 1952 Farmall Super AV and Schmidt a 1940 Allis Chalmers Model B.

Annika Jenson of Santa Margarita took home third place with her 1964 Massey Ferguson 135.

All five local tractor students traveled to Indianapolis to receive their awards and to attend the National FFA Convention.

Shandon FFA advisor Deanna Morton was presented with an Honorary American Degree at the convention. 

The Honorary American FFA Degree is the highest degree bestowed upon an individual by the National FFA Organization. It stands to recognize their contributions to agriculture, agricultural education, and FFA at the national level.

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Huge Success For Local FFA Students At National Convention

FFA allows students to remain members until they are 19 years old. Their last year, typically the year following high school graduation is their time to earn their American Degree.

The American Degree is the highest degree achievable in the National FFA Organization. It shows an FFA member’s dedication to their chapter and state FFA association. FFA degrees are earned by meeting qualifications set by the National FFA Organization, including:

  • Receiving a State FFA Degree
  • Holding active membership for the past three years
  • Completing secondary instruction in an agricultural education program
  • Community service hours
  • Leadership abilities
  • Outstanding scholastic achievements

American Degree holders are held in the top one percent of National agricultural students. These students are honored and receive their degrees at the National FFA Convention and Expo.

Students from Shandon FFA and Templeton FFA traveled to the convention to receive their American Degree. 

According to Atascadero FFA Advisor Kyle Dadson, their school denied the chapter’s permission to travel to the National Convention. Paso Robles FFA Chapter also did not have any students travel to the convention.

Templeton Unified School District did not officially send students to the convention. But that did not stop 2020 THS graduate from receiving her American Degree in Person.

“It was a little bit weird because our schools didn’t allow us to go as a chapter, but this was something I’ve been wanting to do my whole FFA career,” said Welcher.

As the youngest in her family, Welcher watched her siblings earn their American Degrees and receive them in person at the National FFA Convention. Watching her siblings showed Welcher how big of a deal earning your American Degree is.

Welcher contacted every FFA student she could think of that wanted to go with her to receive their degrees. Finally, she and a small group decided to make their own way to Indianapolis for the once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“I felt like it was rough not to go with my chapter, but I’m glad to have just gone in general when I know so many other people weren’t that fortunate,” she says.

This year 3,863 American Degrees were awarded to FFA members. More than 760,000 students are FFA members across the United States.

Earning your American Degree is not only a major triumph, but it also marks the closure of a student’s time as an FFA member.

Welcher recalls, “It was emotional to unzip my jacket–I know I’m never going to put this jacket on for another FFA event because I am now an alumni.”

Dean Hill of Templeton FFA served as the National Officer Nominating Committee Chair, selecting those who will lead the FFA organization next year. 

Congratulations to this years local American Degree recipients:

Atascadero FFA Chapter:

  • Justin Zack

Paso Robles FFA Chapter:

  • Austin Andres
  • Christy Awalt 
  • Cassidie Banish
  • Ethan Breese
  • Jacob Brown
  • Cody Carr
  • Corri Anne Cook
  • Nicole Diez
  • Garrett Earl
  • Justin Earl
  • Trew Mitchell
  • Brysan Pesenti
  • Cole Richard
  • Kendall Savage
  • Casey Strupp
  • Nathaniel Tsesmilles-Castro

Shandon FFA Chapter:

  • Isaac Lopez

Templeton FFA Chapter:

  • Dean Hill
  • Ashley Lewis
  • Shelbi Scantlin
  • Jonathan Rodriguez
  • JoEllen Wall
  • Jessica Welcher