BARSTOW - Ben Rucker is glad that he knows his agriculture.

The Barstow Junior High School eighth-grader won the school's geography bee for the second year in a row, outscoring more than 800 students with his knowledge of places and names.

Rucker was the last student standing after the event's coordinator, history teacher Don Cross, asked him a question about U.S. cities.

"Peoria, a city named after the Peoria Indian tribe who once inhabited the area, is an agricultural trading center in which Midwest state, Wyoming or Illinois?" Cross asked.

Rucker wasn't familiar with the city but knew that Illinois is known for growing crops and guessed correctly, beating out runner up Carly Bond.

"I was a little nervous," Rucker said. "My knees were shaking to be in front of all those people."

He said that he that he became interested in geography by traveling to other states with his family.

"I used to read the maps when we go driving because I thought it was fun," he said.

After winning the competition, Rucker will take a written geography exam to see if he can win a place among 100 other California students to compete for the state title. Last year, he went to the state event and finished within the top 10 finalists.

Cross started the competition 13 years ago to generate interest in the subject, which is more than just names and places on maps, he said.

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