Penn State Pullers place high in international tractor event

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- A team of students from Penn State's colleges of Agricultural Sciences and Engineering recently placed fifth overall in the International Quarter Scale Tractor Competition, sponsored by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.

The students were members of the Penn State Pullers club, a group dedicated to designing and building their own garden tractor-sized tractors.

During the event, which was held in early June in Peoria, Ill., each team was judged based on a written design report, team presentation, design excellence, maneuverability and tractor pulling capacity.

This year, the Pullers were led by team captain Nathan Chess, of Hadley, who recently graduated with a bachelor's degree in agricultural systems management.

"We placed fifth out of 29 -- there were very strong teams there this year, and overall we were pleased with our performance," Chess said. "Our tractor now has been competitive with the best, and we have developed our program into something people respect at the competition.

"They all expect Penn State to bring a strong tractor."

The team encountered an unexpected challenge at the event.

"During the competition, we did not pass the brake test in the first round," said Jude Liu, associate professor of agricultural and biological engineering, the Pullers' faculty adviser. "Our team members had to redesign and repair the brake system and its components to solve the problems in a very limited time."

It was a stressful situation, Chess conceded. "But our team came together, and we prevailed."

Over the next year, the Pullers will need to continue to improve in order to reach Liu's goal of seeing the team finish in the top three.

Some of the group's improvements from last year included advances on safety and ergonomics, speed controls, lower center of gravity, stronger chassis and appearance.

This year's tractor's appearance was in memory of ag engineering alumnus George E. Logue Sr., Chess noted.

"He was a great influence and donor to our program," he said. "We had a decal made for this tractor to show our appreciation for all that he had done for our team."

Contacts: 
Last Updated July 01, 2013