Editor of the Iowa Soybean Review

(Photo: Joclyn Bushman/Iowa Soybean Association)

Rural Route 2: A perfect season

March 30, 2023 | Bethany Baratta

Lights darkened and spotlights danced on the players, coaches and cheerleaders on the court.

Soon, the buzzer rang, and play began in the Class 3A boys state basketball quarterfinals.

Des Moines’ Wells Fargo Arena hosted the matchup between the Bondurant-Farrar Bluejays and the Algona Bulldogs.

The boys from Bondurant (undefeated in the season) won the tipoff. Both teams stumbled in the first few minutes, presumably feeling the pressure of the moment and before the largest crowd they’ve ever seen (Wells Fargo Arena seats 16,110).

Soon, the pre-game jitters seemed to wear off for both teams, showing attendees why these teams were playing on the biggest stage available to Iowa high school basketball teams.

For the next 83 minutes, my eyes ping-ponged from the action on the court, watching the pep bands, my son taking sips of Powerade between bites of popcorn and other spectators dotting the perimeter of the court.

It was the high school version of March Madness, and it was exciting to see teams of teens battle it out on the hardwood.

The Bluejays went on a 12-0 run in the second quarter to pull away from the Bulldogs. And they never looked back. The Bluejays won 81-52 over the Bulldogs, advancing to the next round.

Bondurant beat the North Polk Comets 54-45 in the semifinals, advancing to the championship game against the No. 2 Cedar Rapids Xavier Saints.

A season of post-practice free throw shooting paid off late in the fourth quarter for Bondurant. The Saints led by single digits throughout much of the game but fouls late in the fourth quarter provided an opportunity for the Bluejays. Bondurant was a perfect 4 for 4 at the charity stripe, giving them the three-point lead with seconds remaining in the game. A missed three-pointer solidified Bondurant’s status as champions. The team defeated Cedar Rapids Xavier 58-55.

The Bondurant-Farrar Bluejays celebrate their championship win. Photo by Matthew Putney Media.

With an undefeated season record, Bondurant was crowned state champion for the first time since 1997. A celebratory homecoming welcomed the BlueJays back to their home court.

Twenty-six wins. Zero losses. A perfect season.

While it’s March Madness on the court, it’s also March Madness on your home courts: your shops and fields. It’s the anticipation of the planting season and the hope of a productive crop. It’s thinking through all the logistics of what it will take to plant and sustain the crop.

In this issue, you’ll learn more about some of the newer uses of soybeans in renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel. In addition to producing additional biodiesel, renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel expands the need for your soybeans. Increased soybean meal because of crushing the beans for the oil will open marketing opportunities. This season, you can think about growing soybeans not just for the crop but also for the products that result, including plywood products, biofuels and animal feeds.

I hope you join the Bondurant Bluejays this spring and construct your perfect season.