Joaquinn Lopez is not quite the average fifth grader. At 10 years old he does like typical things that other boys his age like such as football, baseball, basketball and golf. However what sets him apart is the fact that at ten years old he has built a trailer and competed with it in the Junior Agriculture Mechanics show at the San Antonio Show and Rodeo this past weekend.
Lopez has won Grand Champion in Ag Mechanics for the past two years at the Jim Wells County Fair and was advised to try his luck at the San Antonio Ag Mechanics show. With the encouragement of his parents, Lopez entered his trailer into the competition in the 10 foot and under trailer category. The trailer that he entered into the competition is the same 10 foot by 6 foot trailer with a ramp that he won at the county fair with this past fall.
The construction of the trailer was completed by Lopez himself from the cutting of the angle iron, to the welding, wiring and painting it maroon and white with a Texas A&M University theme. His father Pedro Lopez Jr. helped only in a supervisory way. The elder Lopez, a welder himself, showed his son how to do everything but was insistent that his son do everything on the trailer himself. Last year Joaquinn won with a 14 foot gate that he welded himself with his father again supervising but also helping him in cutting the iron due to Joaquinn's smaller size and lesser strength.
Lopez did not place but out of 18 entrants for the competition, he was one of four that had completed his trailer by himself and he was the only one that wasn't in high school. After four entries were disqualified, he was one of 14 that were competing for top six.
One important aspect of the competition was the presentation of the entries and for Lopez, this wasn't quite so easy. According to his mother Beatrice Lopez, he is normally a bit introverted and not one to approach others. However his father gave him all of the knowledge to not only present his trailer but to also ask the judges questions on the actual construction. This turned out to be especially helpful since there were undercover judges mixed in with the crowd and the entrants were required to stand by their projects the entire day of judging. “He went from being shy and introverted to being confident and willing to approach others and this has carried over into his everyday life,” said Beatrice. She also said that he was nervous up to the day of presentation and after the first couple of people he was drawing attention to himself and telling the people who came by about his project. “Before the show he was nervous but afterwards he was asking me if he could do three projects next year,” said Mrs. Lopez. While she may not agree to three projects, she and his father will continue to encourage their son with making more projects in the years to come.