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Quarter-scale tractor teams score high at international competition

Thursday, June 5, 2014



MANHATTAN — The winning streak continues. For the 16th time in the last 17 years, a Kansas State University quarter-scale tractor team has won or placed in the top three at the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers' annual International Quarter-Scale Tractor Student Design Competition.

This year's A Team — juniors and seniors — and its Powercat tractor placed second out of 29 entries, and the X Team — freshmen and sophomores — and its tractor placed third out of 13 entries at the May 29-June 1 event at the Expo Gardens in Peoria, Illinois.

"K-State was the only school to have both A and X teams place in the top three," said Joe Harner, head of the university's biological and agricultural engineering department. "This was significant because the X team entries were based on modifying the 2013 tractor and the A team entries were based on designing a new tractor for 2014."

Teams spend the 2013 academic year designing and building the utility or recreational pulling tractors that they present and demonstrate at the competition. Each team is supplied with one 31-horsepower Briggs and Stratton Vanguard Big Block Engine — with the option to run two 16-horsepower Briggs and Stratton engines — and a set of Titan tires. They are then responsible for acquiring all other components of their machines. All the tractors run on a 10 percent ethanol fuel blend sponsored by the Kentucky Corn Growers Association.

"The support we receive from the university, coupled with our students' work ethic and advisers' guidance, enabled us to enter A and X teams," Harner said. "This encourages all of the team members to be involved in the creative process and truly seek to improve the design each year. The students take pride in representing K-State and continuing the tradition of excellence of previous teams."

The quarter-scale competition is unique among student engineering-design contests in that it provides a realistic workplace experience. Industry experts judge each design for innovation, manufacturability, serviceability, maneuverability, safety, sound level and ergonomics. Teams also submit a written design report in advance of the competition, and on site they must sell their design in a formal presentation to judges, who are playing the role of a corporate management team. Finally, machines are put to the test in a performance demonstration requiring four tractor pulls.

Advisers for this year's team were Pat Murphy, professor of biological and agricultural engineering; Ed Brokesh, instructor of biological and agricultural engineering; Dan Flippo, assistant professor 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 biological and agricultural engineering department; and Jim Schmidt, a Kansas State University 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:

Tyler Montgomery, biological systems engineering, Almena, A Team; Dalton Owen, biological systems engineering, Andover, X Team; Darren Falk, biological systems engineering, Atchison, A Team treasurer; Andrew Koch, biological systems engineering, Auburn; Austin Schmitz, biological systems engineering, Axtell, A Team; Zach Stejskal, biological systems engineering, Bison, A Team; Ryan Strasser, biological systems engineering, Garden City, A Team shop foreman; Jordan Reisinger, biological systems engineering, Havensville; Ben Bellar, agricultural technology management, Howard, A Team equipment manager; Lars Peterson, biological systems engineering, Lindsborg, A Team; Blake Brown, biological systems engineering, McPherson, A Team; Kyler Macy, biological systems engineering, Minneapolis, A Team; Kristen Fischer, mechanical and nuclear engineering, Nashville, X Team secretary; Eli Sheppard, agricultural technology management, Olsburg, A Team.

From Overbrook: Becky Zeller, elementary education, A Team fundraising chair; and Josh Zeller, biological systems engineering, X Team shop foreman.

From Overland Park: Jonathan Pasowicz, biological systems engineering, X Team vice president; and Luke Weller, biological systems engineering, X Team president.

Zack Rust, agricultural technology management, Smith Center, A Team; Luke LaTourell, agricultural technology management, Sterling, X Team; Aaron Spare, biological systems engineering, St. John, A Team fundraising chair; Peter Masters, biological systems engineering, Troy, A Team; and Justin Sales, agricultural technology management, Valley Falls, A Team president.

From out of state: Joshua Medeiros, agricultural technology management, Hilmar, California, A Team; Tyler Siebels, biological systems engineering, Council Bluffs, Iowa, A Team secretary; and Andy Engelhardt, biological systems engineering, Adrian, Missouri, A Team vice president.


Joe Harner


College of Engineering

News tip

Almena, Andover, Atchison, Auburn, Axtell, Bison, Garden City, Havensville, Howard, Lindsborg, McPherson, Minneapolis, Nashville, Olsburg, Overbrook, Overland Park, Smith Center, Sterling, St. John, Troy and Valley Falls; Hilmar, California; Council Bluffs, Iowa; and Adrian, Missouri.


Download the following photo.

Quarter-Scale Tractor Team

Members of Kansas State University's quarter-scale tractor team, which placed second at the recent International Quarter-Scale Tractor Student Design Competition. Front row, from left: Tyler Siebels, Lars Peterson, Dalton Owen, Luke LaTourell, Kristen Fischer, Becky Zeller, Josh Medeiros, Ryan Strasser and Ben Bellar. Back row, from left: Jordan Reisinger, Justin Sales, Zack Rust, Jonathan Pasowicz, Andy Engelhardt, Andrew Koch, Eli Sheppard and Tyler Montgomery. Attending the competition but not pictured: Zach Stejskal, Luke Weller and Austin Schmitz.

Written by

Mary Rankin

At a glance

For the 16th time in the last 17 years, Kansas State University's quarter-scale tractor team has won or finished in the top three at the International Quarter-Scale Tractor Student Design Competition.