July 15, 2005 | By: Aimee Nielson

University of Kentucky biosystems and agricultural engineering students placed in the top three at the International Quarter-Scale Tractor Competition in Moline, Ill., for the fourth straight year. A total of 24 teams from the United States and Canada competed.

“That elusive first place remains the primary goal of our students,” said team adviser and UK Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering faculty member Scott Shearer. “But this year we were closer to first place, points-wise, than ever before. Those other schools are tough competitors.”

Only 57 points separated UK from first-place Oklahoma State University.

Each year biosystems and agricultural engineering students design and build small, powerful tractors for the competition. They may be two-wheel or four-wheel drive and must use a Briggs and Stratton Vanguard 16 horsepower engine, as well as specified Firestone tires.

This year, UK students designed the entire tractor to be controlled via a joystick. Shearer said there is no steering wheel, no gas pedal and only the standard service brake required by the competition.

The team won the Maneuverability Award for the second year in a row, based on the navigation skills of team member Evan Conrad. The team also earned second place in the serviceability category. For the sixth straight year, UK brought home top honors in the competition’s cook-off, being the only school to ever win the award.

“We’re really proud of these students,” Shearer said. “They are determined to make each design better than the one before, and their efforts are really apparent with this unique tractor.”

The competition was sponsored by the American Society of Agricultural Engineers. Teams are judged on design, maneuverability, serviceability, pulling performance and an oral presentation. Judges are industry professionals.

The tractor will be available for viewing at the UK College of Agriculture Fall Roundup in September, the National FFA Convention in Louisville and the 2006 National Farm Machinery Show, also in Louisville.

Team members are Will Adams, Parker Bradley, Katherine Christian, Benjamin Clark, Evan Conrad, Blair Duguid, Travis Dykes, Ryan Figgins, Courtney Fisk, Spencer Guinn, Ryan Hillenbrand, Justin Jackson, Michael Kennedy, Brian Luck (captain), Jamie Marsh, Alan Masterson, Brandon McDonald, Laura Meszaros, Santosh Pitla, Rob Prewitt, Michael Sama, Charlie Sorrell, Zach Thomas, Jonathan Waits and Grant Wonderlich.

Faculty advisors are Tim Smith, Scott Shearer, Matt Veal, Larry Wells, Tim Stombaugh and Rich Gates.

Sponsors for the UK tractor design competition project include the UK College of Agriculture, UK College of Engineering, Kentucky Corn Growers Association, Alltech Inc., Eaton Fluid Power, Central Equipment, UK Ag Alumni Association, ConWay Tranport Inc., Touchstone Energy Cooperatives, Adcolor Inc., Hydraforce Inc., White Hydraulics Inc., Tonya McDonald, Air Hydro Power Inc., Sure Grip Controls Inc., Motion Systems Inc., Brookside Laboratories Inc. and Midwest Wheel Inc.


Writer: Aimee Nielson 859-257-4736, ext. 267

Contact: Scott Shearer 859-257-3000, ext. 218