Central Texas high school senior wins state competition at the Heart of Texas Fair and Rodeo

Published: Oct. 9, 2023 at 6:18 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - A local high school senior who is representing more than 16,500 students in the Future Farmers of America, or FFA, after being voted as Area 8 Vice President continues to be a rising star in agriculture after winning a statewide competition at the Heart of Texas Fair and Rodeo.

McGregor High School senior Tracer Rice, 17, won Grand Champion for the Speak Out for Agriculture Challenge through the Texas Farm Bureau at the Heart of Texas Fair and Rodeo where he was awarded a $2,500 scholarship.

The contest provides an opportunity for students to develop problem-solving and communication skills while learning more about ag.

Rice says he feels like agriculture is exactly where he’s supposed to be.

“I feel like it’s what I’m on this earth for because I found some of my best friends and my relationship with God has grown and my true intent of what I want to do with the rest of my life is in agriculture,” Rice said.

Chelsea Fewell is an FFA Advisor at McGregor High School and said winning the recent state-wide competition comes with big bragging rights.

“It’s a huge honor.  It’s a statewide contest,” Fewell said.  “It has several levels of advancements and he made it through the first round and then the second round and then he was the only boy left in the last part and he won the whole thing.”

The win was the second scholarship for the already accomplished agriculture-loving student.

Tracer was named a Ford Leadership Scholar in which only ten juniors across the state of Texas were awarded $1,000 last May.

He’s been part of the FFA since elementary school and serves as the high school’s current president.

Tracer also recently became the first student at McGregor to be elected to leadership over Region 8 after completing two tests, undergoing interviews and giving two public speeches.

Students from Anderson, Bosque, Coryell, Ellis, Freestone, Henderson, Hill, Hood, Johnson, Limestone, McLennan, Navarro and Somervell counties then voted him into office as their representative.

Tracer said he takes great pride in being from a small town and representing the future of farming in America.

“Agriculture is a dying field and I believe that as youth participants we need to continue to advocate for this industry until we are able to feed that growing population,” he said.

While Tracer comes by his love of ag naturally, he says leadership at McGregor High School has helped him accomplish more than he ever dreamed.

“My parents owned a horse breeding operation, and we rodeoed every weekend,” he said.  “We have three incredible ag teachers, and they are the reason I’m where I am today.”

Tracer will show livestock this weekend at the Heart of Texas Fair and Rodeo before heading to the State Fair of Texas in Dallas next week where he’s qualified to compete in three competitions through the FFA of public speaking, job interview and Agriscience Fair.

Tracer has been accepted to Texas A&M where he plans to major in Animal Science and become an equine veterinarian.