Restored for ribbons

Freshmen win blue ribbons in Junior Agricultural Mechanics Show

Courtesy of Jeff Klose
Freshman Scott Henderson was Reserve Champion for the Early Models Tractor Restoration Project at the Junior Agricultural Mechanic Show.

A 1934 sienna Allis-Chalmers stands out among the other vibrant tractors positioned across the concrete floor. A blue ribbon attached to its grill indicates its ranking. By the gleaming surface of a worktable, a twin ribbon is proudly held up.

Freshmen Scott Henderson and Tyler Schoenenberger received blue ribbons at the Junior Agricultural Mechanics Show in February. Schoenenberger received the title Reserve Champion for the Shop Equipment and Resource Recovery Project. The Tractor Technician competition is composed of two parts: questions and restoration.

It’s opened up a door for my future, colleges and work-life.”

— Tyler Schoenenberger, 9

“You have a 200 question test, and you have 30 minutes to fix a tractor,” Schoenenberger said. “It was really fun. Western Equipment sponsored it, and you can get scholarships from it.” 

The event is held on the last weekend of the Stock Show and Rodeo and focuses on the participants’ ability to design, construct and restore mechanical projects in the field of agriculture.

“This is my first year in FFA, but I’ve grown up on the farm,” Schoenenberger said. “Right now I’m with the manufacturing program in the ag shop. I’m also in Klose’s classroom for beginner ag, introducing me to everything you can do in ag and FFA. It’s opened up a door for my future, colleges and work-life.”

Henderson restored a 1934 Allis-Chalmers tractor for the Early Tractors division of the Tractor Restoration competition.

“Each tractor from factory would have been an orange they called ‘Persian 1,'” Henderson said. “It’s kind of a brownish-orange. I try to go back as original as possible with them, so that’s what color I went back with.”

Each participant acquires a tractor, which they then restore in the months leading up to the competition.

“This one was actually given to me by a guy in Clarendon,” Henderson said. “If I’m restoring it for someone else, I don’t charge labor, but in trade I get to take it to show: I take it all apart, I do the painting on it, I do all the mechanic work on it and I take it to shows.”

Participants compete against students across Texas, and the restoration process is documented with photos.

I didn’t really seem that happy, but inside I was blowing up.”

— Scott Henderson, 9

“It’s ag mechanics, which is a lot different than showing pigs or the other ag competitions,” Henderson said. “When I picked up the tractor, I had pictures of me loading it and the condition it was in before. There are pictures of me mid-restoration, there’s pictures of me painting it and then pictures at the end.”

Henderson, a Reserve Champion, placed second in the older tractor division and third overall.

“I was really nervous during the Awards Ceremony,” Henderson said. “Then they called my name and it was almost disbelief because I was shocked, so I didn’t really seem that happy, but inside I was blowing up. It was really cool. Mechanics is something that interests me, and painting is something that interests me, so I’m really interested in staying with it.”