FFA fundraiser tops previous years

Community members once again opened their hearts and pocketbooks to support the Lovell High School FFA chapter at a special fundraising dinner and live auction hosted last week by Parents of the Blue Jackets.

Patti Carpetner photo
Lovell High School FFA chapter members James Durfee and Hunter Harris give Ashlynn Fink a ride on a student-made metal playground toy during a live auction held at the Lovell Community Center.

According to PBJ treasurer Charis Bischoff, the event, held at the Lovell Community Center on March 15, was sold out and netted $13,743. The funds raised will be used to support student activities like traveling to FFA Nationals and other competitions, to purchase equipment and supplies used by students competing in those activities, to pay for individual scholarships, for “add-on” contributions at the junior livestock sale at the Big Horn County Fair and for prizes and buckles used to reward students for their participation. Bischoff said the money raised was a “bump” over the previous year, which brought in $9,000 in net proceeds, and may even be a record.

In addition to using the funds to support student activities, Bischoff noted that the organization also donates to community causes like providing dinner baskets to families in need at Thanksgiving and to the North Big Horn Hospital Share-a-Stocking program at Christmastime.

“We thank the entire community for the support we gain each year and for the fun that comes along with events like this,” said Bischoff. “The kids are doing so well this year. They worked so hard on their projects. It’s good for them to feel this kind of support and encouragement for that hard work. Many of these kids are the ones who will be working in agriculture in the future. They will be the ones feeding America.”

Patti Carpetner photo
LHS FFA chapter member Terk Tryon displays a plate of brownies up for auction at the Parents of the Blue Jackets fundraiser held last Friday in Lovell.

An especially lively round of bidding during the live auction brought in an additional $6,100 to fund a newly formed Max Bischoff Memorial Scholarship Fund. Jay Harrison started the bidding war with a $1,700 bid on a somewhat non-descript basket of goodies that he quickly donated back at the close of the auction. A representative of PBJ committed another $500 to that amount, which was upped another $1,200 by Lovell based Miller Fabrication. The amount was upped again by another $900 donated by another local business, S&L Industrial of Cowley, at which time Harrison increased his commitment by another $900. Bischoff said several individuals moved by the generosity shown during the live auction made additional donations to the fund even after the bidding was closed. She said the special fund will be used to support students seeking to further their ag-related education and skills.

The Parents of the Blue Jackets organization was formed in 2013 by parents, friends and other supporters of the Lovell High School FFA chapter to bolster funds through events like the one held on Friday night to support and further the activities offered by the chapter. The group purchased a horse trailer a few years ago, which is being used by chapter members to transport their livestock to events, and also purchased
lights for the chapter’s on-campus greenhouse and, more recently, matching polo shirts for the students to wear during activities. Bischoff said the group will be chatting with the school’s chapter advisor Jared Boardman soon to assess the needs of
the chapter before committing funds raised at this year’s event.

By Patti Carpenter