Anticipation was high on the last day of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™ as students from schools from across Texas waited for the results of the Ag Mechanics Show. 

Tucker Soules, 17, of Hallsville FFA, was announced Grand Champion with his replacement hay hauling bed with hydraulic lift arms and service body boxes. When asked why he chose this project, Soules stated, “I built this to use for our hay operation and to grow our family’s cattle operation.”  

Soules has been in FFA for three years. He has participated in ag mechanics, livestock judging, and ag applied engineering. Soules plans to pursue a degree in ag engineering. 

Reserve Grand Champion was exhibited by West Hardin FFA. Tony Kirkendall (team captain), Lee Zurenda, Elijah Rodriguez, and Graysen Vanya built a 35-foot gooseneck utility trailer. “Anything you put on it, you can haul,” Rodriguez said. “We have a total of 1,908 hours (about two-and-a-half months) into the project.” 

West Hardin FFA focused on full utilization when building the trailer. “We centered this around convenience for the customer, and we did this by adding a lot of accessories such as on-board air, hydraulics, duckbill and jacks,” Rodriguez said. “That’s also what sets us apart from the competition, that we had a lot of accessories.”  

About the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo  

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo promotes agriculture by hosting an annual, family-friendly experience that educates and entertains the public, supports Texas youth, showcases Western heritage, and provides year-round educational support within the community. Since its beginning in 1932, the Rodeo has committed more than $600 million to the youth of Texas and education. The 2024 Rodeo is scheduled for Feb. 27 – March 17. The 2024 World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest, presented by Cotton Holdings, is scheduled for Feb. 22 – 24. For more information, visit and follow @RODEOHOUSTON online via Facebook, X (Twitter), Instagram and YouTube for all the latest news.