Bobcat compact equipment has been an integral tool on landscaping jobsites since it hit the dirt more than half a century ago. So we felt totally in our element when we attended the 40th annual National Collegiate Landscape Competition at Mississippi State University in Starkville, Mississippi, March 15 through 18.

The National Association of Landscape Professionals hosts the annual competition and networking event at a different location and invites students in interior and exterior horticulture programs at colleges and universities across the country to attend. More than 750 students from more than 60 colleges attended this year’s event. In addition to the competition, students have the opportunity to participate in a career fair, career development series and educational workshops.

The first day of the event was capped off by the Bobcat Company-sponsored student reception. It was quite the evening—complete with a hog roast, IMG_3162jambalaya, mechanical bull and a DJ at the Mississippi State amphitheater. Students didn’t let a bit of mud stop them from mingling, networking and dancing the night away. We were lucky enough to get to chat with a bunch of enthusiastic and motivated students who visited the Bobcat Company booth, where we had an E35 compact excavator and MT85 mini track loader on display. Needless to say, we were extremely impressed by the amount of young talent.

We were also raffling off a pair of $100 gift cards, and we’re excited to announce the winners:

The following day featured the annual career fair as anticipation built to the day’s big draw — the competitive events. This year featured 28 individual and team competitions, including tree climbing, hardscape installation, wood construction, plant identification, sales presentation, exterior and interior design, irrigation troubleshooting, skid steer operation, personnel management and small engine repair, among many others.

Congratulations go out to Anna Cordiner, of Colorado State University, who took the student division, and Michigan State University for winning the overall team title.

Brigham Young University will host next year’s National Collegiate Landscape Competition in Provo, Utah, March 15 through 18. We were thoroughly impressed by the talent on display at this year’s event and we can’t wait to hit the dirt again next year!

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