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North and South Tech Students Compete in Ameren Rodeo

  North Tech students dig a hole outside during the Ameren Rodeo.

February 22, 2024 - Students at North and South Tech High Schools engaged in friendly competition among their peers during Ameren’s first annual rodeo held at the schools. The event tested students' skills in four different areas, including digging, rope tying, circuits, and building. It’s a part of Ameren’s efforts to equip students for life after high school.

“When students finish their tech programs and start looking for jobs, one of the things we have them do if they are seeking employment at Ameren is complete a field evaluation,” said Emily Degenhardt, Ameren skills coordinator. “We wanted to incorporate a process that would help students be better prepared for the evaluation. Some of the skills they are competing in at the rodeo are the same skills they will be required to do during our employability test.” 

The competition format consisted of students working in teams of four and competing against eight other teams. For the digging portion, students had to dig a hole three feet deep and one foot wide in 15 minutes with a pole digger. Students took turns digging and cheering each other on. 

“My team started off strong and we got a good head start,” said Ava Harper, senior student in North Tech’s carpentry program. “I struggled a little bit with trying to widen the hole using the pole digger because we normally use a shovel, but I got the hang of it. I think we have a shot at winning.”

The competition continued by having students read blueprints to build a birdhouse using wooden pieces. They also had to tie five different knots, including a square knot, bowline knot, clove hitch, timber hitch, and two half hitch using rope. 

“It’s a lot harder than it sounds,” said Andrew Schuppan, senior student in South Tech’s Electrical Trades program. “Building the birdhouse was definitely the most fun. Even though we may not win, I’m enjoying getting to network with everyone.”

Welding, Construction, Electrical, Carpentry, and Precision Machining students participated in the rodeo. The winning team members at North Tech were Ethan Bryant, Michael Hester, Jeffery Davis, Luis Alvarado and DeAndre Jefferson. The winning team members at South Tech were Peyton Walker, Andrew Highcock, Dylan Hammons, and Landon Chattelle. They were awarded a trophy and customized Ameren tool set.