CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Drew Mickey and Waylon Paulek of the Taylorville FFA chapter just returned from Scotland as the top international champions in Livestock Judging. What is their secret to success?

“For me, I’ll start by saying it comes from a great FFA chapter here in Taylorville that we have and the great support we have from our community and three great advisors that we have,” Mickey said.

“I definitely agree with Drew. I really think it starts at home,” Paulek said. “I really thank my Mom and Dad for taking care of everything while I’m on these judging trips and doing all these opportunities I have gotten through FFA. So I really appreciate them for supporting me both at home and financially on all these trips. But I also agree with Drew; I think we have three amazing ag teachers that really put all the pieces together to make sure that we all have a successful four years in high school.”

Mickey’s older brother Tanner was the FFA’s Star Farmer in 2020.

“I have to echo what Waylon and Drew both said,” Tanner said. “First of all, I’ve got to thank my family for all they’ve done for me. They’ve given me lots of opportunities, presented to me that would not have been presented somewhere else and also the Taylorville FFA chapter is second to none with our advisors and the community that we have to support us, the community is also a really big factor that plays into what we do. They help provide lots of funding.”

Growing up on a farm also helped.

“A lot of the work and hours that we’ve put in have helped us and gave us this opportunity. It taught us work ethic and responsibility which has set us up for success in all our areas we have worked through in FFA,” Drew said. “And we are not just going to use FFA and livestock judging here in high school. It’s going to go beyond what you may think it does. It’s going to help us in our careers and what we do in our future and what we hold a passion for.”