Collins Middle School's ag mechanics team won Grand Champion for the fourth year in a row at the Navarro County Youth Expo Wednesday.
The group built a deer blind for paralyzed veterans that includes a hydraulic wheelchair lift. It will be donated to the Paralyzed Veterans of America when all the shows are over.
The boys won Grand Champion in ag mechanics, as well as showmanship, and first in their class at the Youth Expo.
The same project also won first in class, grand champion showmanship, and reserve champion of junior ag mechanics division in San Antonio; and took first in class at Houston; and third place in San Angelo.
The team is made up of Jack Blanton, Colten Davis, Dylan White, Ashley Paulk, Richard Wiese, Caleb Watkins, Hutson Anderson and Landon Holcomb. Their teacher is Larry Acock.
Reserve Champion was won by the team from Corsicana High School, which built a 28-foot-long cattle trailer. The project also won reserve champion in San Angelo, second in class in San Antonio, and second in class in Houston.
Among the people watching the judging were Roger Layton, a Vietnam Veteran and member of the American Legion.
“This is putting words into action,” Layton said, referring to the deer blind and their plans to donate it to veterans. “What these kids have done means more to me than words.”
The students also had lots of veterans on hand at the San Antonio and Houston shows, including a captain who's been helping guide the project for the paralyzed veterans group.
“He said if we supported them then he should support us,” said Jack Blanton.
The various wins have garnered the boys a welder, an air compressor, a lot of tools, gloves and other prizes, Davis said.
Acock said he was very proud of the students for their hard work.