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      Atlanta High junior wins Missouri FFA proficiency award

      <font size="2" face="Calibri">Justin K. Grigsby</font>

      Justin K. Grigsby, of Elmer, Mo., received the second-place Missouri FFA Equine Science Entrepreneurship Proficiency Award at the 86th Missouri FFA Convention.

      Grigsby, a junior at Atlanta High School, is the son of Rick and Tisha Grigsby. He is a member of the Atlanta FFA Chapter. His advisor is Susan Marsh.

      Grigsby??s uncle, Doug Cuppy, inspired his supervised agricultural experience program. A former roper, Cuppy helped Grigsby get involved in the performance and rodeo part of equine entrepreneurship. Grigsby learned many skills through his rodeo career. The most important being his roping skills.

      ??It??s not easy to be able to rope a wild animal running as hard as they can, while trying to control another animal that you are riding,?? Grigsby said.

      Grigsby exchanged work for roping lessons from professional roping trainer, Roy Durfey. He lived at Durfey??s barn for two weeks doing chores and riding horses and received roping lessons at night.

      Grigsby learned that there are many management decisions to be made to ensure he is successful. He had to find a good horse to buy and stay within a budget, carefully select which rodeo??s to attend by their location, entry fee, quality of arena, and what the rodeo will pay to win. After an incident where his horse received a severe injury to its leg he had to learn how to treat the wound and dress it every day. Fortunately his horse made a full recovery and has been able to compete again.

      An active FFA member, Grigsby attended state and national conventions. He was a chairman of farm safety week and scholarship committees, and participated in the horse judging career development event.

      Outside of FFA Grigsby is a member of National Honor Society, freshman and sophomore class president and varsity basketball. He is a member of the Missouri High School Rodeo Association, American Quarter Horse Association, Missouri Rodeo Cowboys Association, and National Rifleman??s Association.

      Grigsby??s future plans for his project are to keep improving his roping skills and learn the best strategies to become more financially stable in the equine performance world.

      ??I love roping and horses and right now they are the biggest part of my life,?? Grigsby said.

      Proficiency awards recognize FFA members who excel as agriculture entrepreneurs, employees or volunteers while gaining hands-on career experience. Equine Science Placement is one of 50 proficiency award areas recognized at the state level. The Stevens College Equestrian Studies sponsored this award.

      The Missouri FFA has 25,852 members representing 334 chapters. The national organization has more than 579,000 members representing 7,570 local chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

      The FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.(information provided by Missouri State FFA)