by Matthew Winterholler, Wyoming FFA media team
Bill Stewart has been the Poultry Evaluation CDE Superintendent for the last 12 years for Wyoming. With only the help of a few people, Bill, 82, pulls off the state contest as well as a few practice contests throughout the year. Though just having his eighty-second birthday, he is still going strong and doesn’t see himself quitting anytime soon.
Before becoming the superintendent for the contest, Bill was the FFA Advisor and agricultural instructor at Douglas High School.
“I taught in Carpenter for three years and then Douglas for 28,” Bill said. “I retired in 1993.”
While at Douglas, Bill had many successes. Among those was the poultry team that he coached to a winning year in 1982, which included his son Cody.
Not only has Stewart coached successful teams through his tenor as an FFA Advisor, but he has also seen a lot of success when it comes to the leadership in FFA. During his reign as an FFA Advisor, his other son, Jack, was successful at all levels of leadership. Jack was a state officer for two years, one year serving as the vice president, and the other serving as president. After serving the Wyoming FFA Association, Jack went on to be the National FFA Vice President in 1981-1982.
Bill’s grandsons have also had success in the leadership portion of FFA. Wilson, Jack’s oldest son, served as the state parliamentarian on the 2016-2017 state officer team. Sheridan, Jack’s youngest son, was just elected the state vice president at this year’s convention.
For Bill and the rest of the Stewart family, FFA is a family function and the family has made a name for themselves in Wyoming FFA by continually volunteering for any event the association puts on, including the poultry contest.
After retiring, Bill took his time to continue coaching the poultry team in Douglas. He served the chapter for many years before eventually being approached by the state.
“I was always helping the poultry team at the local level and they just asked me to do the contest here at state,” Stewart said.
Once Bill took on the responsibility of overseeing the poultry contest at state convention, he also took on the job of putting on the poultry contests at practice contests around the state. Whether competing at Casper College’s practice contest or Torrington’s, any member is bound to see Bill putting his true passion towards the members and the contest.
For year’s, Bill put on the poultry contest by himself. Over the last few years, the contest has become somewhat of a family affair for the Stewarts as Bill’s son, Cody, has traveled to Wyoming to help him put on the contest for state convention.
Cody enjoys taking time off to help his dad, especially in Bill’s old age. It’s becoming difficult for Bill to do the contest alone, so Cody’s help has made the process stay just as smooth as when Bill originally started overseeing the contest.
Bill looks at the poultry contest as a way to continue serving the organization that he’s dedicated so much of his life to.
“As long as the Lord gives me strength, I will [be the superintendent],” Bill said.
Watching Bill prepare and run the poultry contest, it is easy to see that the service of the task is something he really enjoys. While the service proves to be important to him, it is the experience that also keeps him coming back.
“I like meeting with all of the old ag teachers and working with the students,” Bill said.
Thankfully for Wyoming FFA, Bill continues to choose to come back to state convention year after year.