By Argen Duncan: PNT senior writer
Six Portales students soared on the wings of their artistic talents in a recent state aviation art competition.
In the state Aviation Division-sponsored contest, five Portales Junior High School students and one James Elementary School student placed in the top three spots in their age groups for their pictures relating to sports flying. Their work has been entered in national competition.
“These students’ art nailed the theme, which I personally feel is a must in theme competitions,” said junior high art teacher Jon Birdsong. “I am very proud of these students’ accomplishment.”
The theme was international sports flying competition scheduled for this summer in Turin, Italy. Sports flying involves a variety of activities including flying stunt planes, ballooning and skydiving.
Second-grader Nolan Riggin won first place in the 5- to 9-year-old division. In the 10- to 13-year-old division, seventh-grader Kristen Wagner took second, and eighth-grader Alex Herrera placed third.
For the 14- to 18-year-old division, Araceli Mendoza won first, Victoria Hink earned second and Haley Madden came in third. All three are eighth-graders.
State judging occurred Jan. 15, and the top three works of art in each age division went to Washington, D.C., for national competition Feb. 6, Birdsong said. He is awaiting official results.
National winners advance to the international contest in Switzerland.
Birdsong said the state contest encompassed a total of 263 entries, with more than 100 in the bottom two age divisions and 40-50 participants in the oldest age group.
For her entry, Wagner drew three stunt planes in action and took about a week to finish the piece.
“I thought it was cool because I’m a seventh-grader, and I won second out of a lot of seventh-graders,” she said of her win.
Riggin’s entry depicted people holding balloons decorated with pictures of a bi-plane, radio-controlled plane, skydiver and more. He took two weeks to finish the piece.
The boy said he participated in the contest because his grandfather, Birdsong, wanted him to do so. Riggin said the contest was hard, but he felt happy when in learned he won.