The tension was as thick as the floral scents wafting through the second-floor shelf overlooking the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo cattle barn.
About 300 teenagers from across Texas took turns completing written exams on the art and economics of floriculture. Then they walked around with clipboards, identifying 60 plant varieties, pests and design tools, and judging which of a collection of arrangements were the most and least desirable.
Were flowers too tall and likely to break? Was the arrangement symmetrical? Was the green Styrofoam at the bottom completely concealed?
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