Runnels County Student Wins TFB Free Enterprise Speech Competition

By Julie Tomascik

A Runnels County high school student has won first place and a $6,000 scholarship as the winner of the 2021 Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) Free Enterprise Speech Contest.

Benjamin Flanagan, son of Scott and Mylea Flanagan, topped 10 other speakers from across Texas in the annual competition.

Flanagan is a homeschooler and active in 4-H activities, including Youth Raising Ambassadors and a District 7 4-H Council member. He was awarded the Gold Star 4-H Award and competes in cattle judging and the 4-H Livestock Skillathon. He was awarded the All-American in Livestock Skillathon and is also a member of Grace Fellowship Church.

He plans to attend Texas A&M University and major in animal production.

The competition runner-up and winner of a $3,000 scholarship was Amanda Hoffmann of Bexar County.

Hoffmann, daughter of Otis and Christine Hoffmann, is in her final year at Samuel Clemens High School in Schertz.

She is active in several organizations, including 4-H and the FFA. She is a 4-H Youth Breeding Ambassador, Vice President of the Santa Clara 4-H Club, Texas FFA Ford Leadership Scholar, and Vice President of the Cibolo Creek FFA Chapter. She is also Treasurer of the National Honor Society and Treasurer of Positively Influencing Everyone (PIE). Hoffmann is also a member of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church.

Hoffmann plans to attend Texas A&M University and major in animal science.

“Our competitors delivered strong speeches detailing the benefits of the free enterprise system and how it is integral to our nation’s success,” said TFB President Russell Boening. “These young people have demonstrated knowledge of our economy, our government and the Farm Bureau. We are proud of their hard work and the role they will play in the future of agriculture.

Four other finalists and $2,000 scholarship winners were William Jones of Rusk County, AJ Kendrick of Lubbock County, Steven Perez of Starr County and Carson Smith of Hall County.

The winner, runner-up, and four runners-up will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC to visit elected officials, observe Congress in session, and visit historic sites.

Other nominees and winners of $1,500 district scholarships were Brock Braden of Midland County, Maggie DeLaCerda of Denton County, Logan James of Wilson County, Conner Schroeder of Archer County and Bryli Wilson of Lampasas County.

To enter the Free Enterprise Speech Contest, applicants must have participated in the Thrive program, which is part of the Texas Farm Bureau’s Student Success Series.

More details about the competition and other youth opportunities are available online at

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