I heard a herd of sheep talking about Christian Hurd once. They were saying how he’s not the average senior at Ames High. Hurd was thrown a curveball when an unexpected chain of events led to his interest in beekeeping. "I started beekeeping freshman year through a scholarship program with Iowa Honey Producers Association," Hurd said. "I just entered it just for fun to see if I could win and if I was good enough, and I did, which was kind of surprising because it’s not something I attacked and pursued and wanted to do my best at in the beginning." It was from this successful trial that Hurd’s interest in beekeeping came about. However, independent, long-term beekeeping is not for the faint of heart, something that Hurd realized as his beekeeping endeavors drew on. "About once a week, I just go out and check on the bees to make sure they are laying eggs and collecting honey and pollen, and population is still up and everything’s going fine," said Hurd. "In the summertime there can be 80,000 bees in there, and if they’re crowded, they’ll just leave. Also, when it gets to the spring and summer, I have to put honey supers on, which are just smaller boxes that collect honey. [the bees] can fill one up in about a week, and they can weigh 50 pounds. So I gotta constantly be on that, and check them once a week, maybe twice." But the hard work and time commitment isn’t the only thing Hurd needs to worry about. Naturally, there are some risks associated with working with bees, so precautions must be taken. "I got a bee suit, I wear boots, I wear gloves, I wear the face mask and everything. But when [the bees] get angry, they always find a way into your suit, and they can sting you in some weird places." Beekeeping is a year-round responsibility, so it keeps Hurd and his family occupied with the insects no matter what the season. On the bright side, there are 200 pounds of what’s marketed as Hurd’s Heavenly Honey produced annually to answer to all the time and effort invested in the project. Keeping bees ; he is also a nationally recognized gymnast. (transition in progress) "I am currently a level 10 gymnast," Hurd said. "I started when I was about 4, did it for a couple years, then took a couple-year break because I wasn’t competing when I was younger. And then I got into trampoline and tumbling, did that for 5 years, reached the highest level. I was elite, advanced, top of my game. Then I switched over to artistic gymnastics because that has always been my dream and my parents’ dream." Hurd’s gymnastics career arose from his exuberance as a child. "My parents thought I had a lot of energy, and I was running around and climbing on stuff so they figured I might be good at gymnastics, so they put me in Tumble Tots, and after I accelerated there, they saw that I had some of talent, so the kept me going. As I grew older, I realized how much I enjoyed [gymnastics] and seeing the results and the amazing things I could do." Being a nationally recognized gymnast does not come easily. Judging by his weekly routine, it is clear that gymnastics isn’t something Hurd takes lightly. "I practice in Des Moines three times a week – Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays – for two to two and a half hours each," Hurd said. "Mondays and Wednesdays, I teach a class and then I practice afterward for an hour or two. Saturdays and Sundays are open workout for me, so I can work on whatever I want to work on by myself for two hours on Saturday and two to four hours on Sunday. [Sundays] are optional if I feel like I need the extra practice." Hurd will continue pursuing his dream at the University of Oklahoma, where he will be competing on the men’s gymnastics team starting in the fall. After college, his future plans also are gymnastics related. "I hope to continue to follow my dreams and eventually make the senior men’s national team, then if everything goes right, then the Olympics," Hurd said. "I guess that’s the best that can happen." But that’s not all Christian Hurd is about. He’s also an eagle scout, senior mentor, student ambassador, member of Key Club, Student Council, Senior Senate, and other organizations, both in and out of school.