• Last modified 560 days ago (Sept. 7, 2017)


City savvy edges country strong

Staff writer

The rancher took third, the farmer second, and the “city kid” first at Florence Labor Day Barnyard Olympics put on by Marion-Florence FFA.

Four senior football players — Caleb Hett, Jarret McLinden, Antone Vinduska, and Austin Neufeld — placed in the competition based on various farm and ranch activities, including roping, stacking straw, a water bucket and wheelbarrow obstacle course race, washer toss, and a hay bale throw.

Out of a field of six, Hett placed fifth, McLinden third, Vinduska second, and Neufeld first.

After finishing the competition an hour before Monday’s football practice, they said farming and ranching help with physical conditioning.

“There’s a difference between weight room strong and country strong,” McLinden said. “In my opinion, country strong wins every time.

“Country strong gives you work ethic more than weight room does. Weight room will give you technique for lifting and everything, but living on a ranch or on a farm gives you work ethic more than just strength.”

Vinduska said the biggest difference between farm and weight room conditioning is handling different situations.

“On a farm you’re faced with a lot of different situations that test your ability to control them,” he said. “That really transfers over on the football field.”

Neufeld, who does not live on a farm or ranch, was called a “city kid” by McLinden. While his teammates called Neufeld’s win beginner’s luck, he attributed his win to skill in control, maneuvering, and accuracy.

“If it came down to just the strength stuff, like the bale toss, I would lose every time,” he said.

Neufeld is the team’s kicker, as well as a receiver and defensive back, while the other three are all linemen.

Teamwork is a transferable skill between farming and football, Vinduska said.

“Between me and my dad, it’s a lot easier to communicate with him and figure out how we’re going to do stuff on the farm because on a football field, you’ve got to talk with your teammates all the time,” Vinduska said.

McLinden agreed.

“With ranching, when either you’re gathering cattle or just working cattle, you’ve got between three and six guys normally working, and you have to work together to get stuff done,” McLinden said. “You have six guys doing six different things, normally stuff doesn’t get done very well; but if you’ve got six guys working together, stuff gets done pretty well and pretty easy.

“That’s how it works on a football field, if everybody works as one, you’re going to win easily. But if everybody works by themselves, nothing gets done.”

Last modified Sept. 7, 2017