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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Four county students to take part in soil judging contest

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Clay City High School students Brylan Jones, Colton Miller and Skylar Miller will be attending the National Soil Judging Contest in Oklahoma City Thursday. Agriculture teacher Pat Powell and his daughter Molly Powell with accompany the boys to the competition, and Molly will also participate.
Four Clay Community high school soil judging team members will head west to get down and dirty for the National Soil Judging Contest this week.

Three students from Clay City High School and one Northview student will attend the contest. Agriculture teacher Pat Powell will accompany junior Brylan Jones, sophomore Skylar Miller, freshman Colton Miller to Oklahoma City, Thursday.

Pat Powell's daughter Molly Powell, who attends Northview, will be joining the group.

"This is the first team to qualify from Clay County since 2004," Powell said.

Clay City and Northview team members placed at area and state judging competitions to qualify them to attend nationals. They competed at North Decatur High School, Purdue University and Indian Creek.

The state competition was Saturday, Oct. 29, at Vincennes University.

"They work hard at it and it's good for the students. They put forth a lot of time, more than a year of preparation, a lot of Saturdays went to the invitationals around the state," Powell said.

According to Powell, soil judging takes place in a 4-foot deep excavated pit, where students measure and determine parent materials (the proportions of sand, silt and clay), erosion (how much soil has been lost), drainage (how well water flows through the soil) and calculate the slope. Then the area is evaluated to determine the site has potential to become a residential property or an agricultural area.

"This teaches the students more about land areas that will help you agriculturally," Powell said.

Local business owner and former national soil judging competition winner Randy Staley of Staley's Soil Service, helped the students learn more about soil judging and has been a mentor to Jones.

"I'd like to become the next Randy Staley. It's (soil judging) has helped me narrow down what I wanted to do in the future. My plans are to go to Ivy Tech and transfer somewhere afterwards," Jones said. "I've always liked to play in the dirt, and my brother did soil judging when I was younger."

Skylar and Colton Miller were both inspired by their uncle Lynn Buell to start soil judging.

"My uncle soil judged while attending high school and was in the national competition," Skylar said.

Powell and other team members say Colton is really good at memorizing soil judging rules and that comes in handy.

"He is a freshman and already has all the rules memorized, and I've been doing this for three years and still don't have them memorized," Jones said, giving credit to his team member.

In addition to learning about soil judging, the students also get experience new places.

"We try to make sure the students stay at a nice place and have a nice time," Powell said.

The students really appreciate Powell's efforts, and the opportunity to learn more about Oklahoma's geography.

"He's (Powell) there every step of the way," Jones said.

"And he helps us out," Skylar added.

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