Award-winning projects take award-winning documentation, and Ennis High School’s ag mechanics crew is in top form, placing in the top one percent at a recent ag mechanics show in San Antonio Livestock Show & Rodeo, according to teacher Brian Harlan.

“The biggest surprise of the weekend came when we found out in the awards ceremony in front of a crowd of approximately 1,500 people that we had placed in overall ‘documentation’ for the entire show. This was a new category that has been added this year in which we were unaware of until the kids’ picture popped up on the slide show in front of the crowd,” Harlan said.

With 355 entries in the building, every single project had to have extensive documentation, including the bill of materials, a working set of student-generated drawings and a photo album showing the project from start to finish.

Chris Valek and Josh Knott were responsible for the EHS drawings, Chase Maliska handled the bill of materials and Jessica Ray took care of the pictures and PowerPoint slide show.

Winning projects included the EHS ag mechanics class’ 16-foot bumper-pull cattle trailer in built in ag mechanics, which earned Austin Estes, Chris Valek, Josh Knott, Tony Morales and Nick Dixon close to $1,000 in prize money.

The metal shop’s hay van that carries two five-foot round bales of hay earned its team, including Austin Estes, Chris Valek, Josh Knott, Gil Kalinec, Chase Maliska and Nick Dixon, second place in a class of eight entries, with prizes totaling about $500.

A stainless steel top TIG welding table built in EHS auto shop netted Bobby Case and Mark Dixon a blue ribbon in the shop equipment class.

Then there’s the 20-foot car hauler with an enclosed tool box and tire rack on the front of the trailer that all the students worked on, beating out 13 other top competitive entries in the class to rack up nearly $1,000 in prize money.

The car hauler project received a fourth place certificate, placing it in the top four percent of the projects.

“I think to be fourth of 355 is an awesome accomplishment,” Harlan said.

All the students plus some helped in the construction of all projects, he added.

Shows in San Angelo and Houston this week and next will be followed by the Ellis County Youth Expo on March 26, where local fans will be able to see their work, said Harlan, who hopes Ennis area residents will come out to support the students.

“Thanks to all the parents who support our students in our programs. We really appreciate you — it’s nice to know that parents are still behind their kids,” Harlan said.

E-mail J. Louise Larson at