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K-State Today

June 11, 2013



Quarter-scale tractors, full-scale success: University teams win international competition

By Communications and Marketing

A Team

Kansas State University's quarter-scale tractor design teams are the winners of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers' 16th annual International Quarter-Scale Tractor Student Design Competition, May 30-June 2, in Peoria, Ill.

The teams and their Powercat tractors won their ninth international championship title at the event. It's the 15th time in the last 16 years that Kansas State University has won or placed in the top three at the competition.

The competition requires teams to build a 31-horsepower engine quarter-scale tractor and document the market research, testing and development of their design. Tractor designs, oral presentations and a written report are presented to a corporate management team for evaluation. Each tractor also competes in a live tractor pull to test its performance capabilities.

Kansas State University's A Team beat 28 other universities from the U.S. and Canada to claim top honors, receiving first place for maneuverability, third place in oral presentation and second place in written report and in tractor performance pulls. The University of Kentucky, Modesto (Calif.) Junior College, Universite Laval in Canada, and Pennsylvania State University rounded out the top five in the A team competition.

Kansas State University's X Team received first place out of 11 teams in the X Team competition, winning both the oral presentation and pulling performance categories. X Team members are freshmen, sophomores and students who are new to the competition.

Joe Harner, head of the university's department of biological and agricultural engineering, said the teams' strong performances at the competition reflect the quality of academic programs and activities available to students at Kansas State University, as well as the strides the university has made toward its goal of becoming a Top 50 public research university by 2025.

"The 2013 ASABE International quarter-scale tractor competition highlights the quality of extracurricular activities available to students at Kansas State University," Harner said. "They are the cumulative application of students' classroom and internship experiences. As such, they provide undergraduates the opportunity to contribute toward the goals and scholarly activities of Vision 2025."

Harner says participating in this competition helps equip students with the skills needed to solve the problems and confront issues they will face in their future careers.

"Nearly 200 industry professionals volunteer their time as part of the intensive review process of the undergraduate teams' design, product manufacturability and serviceability, ergonomics and safety, written and oral communication skills, as well as tractor pulling performance," he said. "The cumulative outcome is preparing today's K-State students to address tomorrow's global challenges."

Advisers for this year's team were Pat Murphy, professor of biological and agricultural engineering; Ed Brokesh, instructor of biological and agricultural engineering; Jon Zeller, research technician in biological and agricultural engineering; John Kramer, adviser for biological and agricultural engineering; Lou Ann Claasen, administrative specialist for the department of biological and agricultural engineering; and Jim Schmidt, a K-State biological and agricultural engineering alumnus and the senior mechanical engineering manager for the Dell Corp.

Members of Kansas State University's A or X Quarter-Scale Tractor teams and leadership position, if applies, include:

Brad Wehling, junior in agricultural technology management, Abilene, A Team; Tyler Montgomery, sophomore in biological systems engineering, Almena, X Team president; Nathan Peterson, sophomore in agricultural technology management, Assaria; Erik Cummings, sophomore in agricultural technology management, X Team, and Darren Falk, junior in agricultural technology management, A Team shop foreman 2 and X Team member, both from Atchison; Andrew Koch, junior in biological systems engineering, Auburn, A Team; Austin Schmitz, sophomore in biological systems engineering, Axtell, X Team; Nicholas Waltz, sophomore in agricultural technology management, Baldwin City, X Team; Zach Winkel, senior in agricultural technology management, Beloit, A Team; Zachary Stejskal, sophomore in biological systems engineering, Bison, X Team; Dillon Thompson, senior in biological systems engineering, Burdett, A Team president; Dalton Buckland, senior in agricultural technology management, Concordia, A Team; Tanner Peroutek, senior in biological systems engineering, Esbon, A Team fundraising chair 1; Brad McVey, senior in biological systems engineering, Fredonia, A Team secretary; Ryan Strasser, junior in biological systems engineering, Garden City, X Team; Doug Niehues, senior in biological systems engineering, A Team treasurer, and Corbin Pfrang, sophomore in biological systems engineering, A Team, both from Goff; Jordan Reisinger, junior in biological systems engineering, Havensville, A Team; Ben Bellar, senior in agricultural technology management, Howard, A Team; Devin Mangus, senior in biological systems engineering, Kanorado, A Team vice president; Nathan Siemens, senior in agricultural technology management, Kingman, A Team; Stuart Wakeman, junior in agricultural technology management, Lawrence, A Team; Lars Peterson, sophomore in biological systems engineering, Lindsborg, X Team; Kyler Macy, junior in biological systems engineering, Minneapolis, X Team.

Eli Sheppard, freshman in biological systems engineering, Olsburg, X Team; Rebecca Zeller, senior in elementary education, Overbrook, A Team; Quinton Bogner, senior in mechanical engineering, Parsons, A Team; Cody Hommertzheim, senior in agricultural technology management, Pratt, A Team; Kyle Jennings, sophomore in mechanical engineering, Riley, X Team; Kyler Arpin, freshman in biological systems engineering, Salina, X Team; Zack Rust, senior in biological systems engineering, Smith Center, A Team; Aaron Spare, senior in biological systems engineering, St. John, A Team fundraising chair 2; Peter Masters, junior in biological systems engineering, Troy, A Team; and Justin Sales, senior in agricultural technology management, Valley Falls, A Team shop foreman 1.

From out of state: Nicholle Hatton, junior in biological systems engineering, Parker, Colo.; Tyler Siebels, junior in biological systems engineering, Council Bluffs, Iowa, A Team; and Andy Engelhardt, senior in biological systems engineering, A Team, and Adam Rushly, freshman in biological systems engineering, X Team, both from Adrian, Mo.