The Aggie Pullers is a hands-on student organization that is dedicated to designing, managing and presenting a quarter-scale tractor each year. Students from all majors are welcome to join Aggie Pullers. The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) sponsors the International ¼ Scale Tractor Design Competition. This international contest is at the end of May each year in Peoria, Ill. There are teams from the U.S., Canada and occasionally from as far away as Israel. The competition is based on judging of an extensive written report, a presentation to industry managers and engineers and a series of design reviews by five teams of industry engineers and technical experts. Besides the presentation and written portions, the tractor is put to the test. The tractor is evaluated based on the performance of three pulls, a durability course and maneuverability course.
The competition contains two different tractor categories: the newly designed tractor and the updated tractor from last year, X tractor. The X tractor is a great way for new members to participate and learn through improving the existing tractor.
Aggie Pullers selects leaders each year to manage the activities. Officers of Aggie Pullers for 2018-2019 are president Matthew White, vice president Ethan McPeek, secretary and social media Randy Stark and treasurer Addison Crump.
Marketing chair Mairead Mooney has found Aggie Pullers beneficial saying, “As someone who had never touched a tractor before college, being an officer in Aggie Pullers has given me plenty of new industry experiences. I am able to interact with people from other disciplines, businesses and professionals from the state and country. I’ve met a team of interesting new people, made friends and learned technical, management and communication skills that will serve me well in future endeavors.”
Aggie Pullers has three faculty advisors that help the students when needed. Dr. Lacey, Dr. Kingman and Mr. Epting help the students throughout the year. Dr. Lacey stresses that the advisors role is only to advise the students when needed. Students succeed and fail on their own merit. Of course, they want the students to win but it is more important that students have a successful learning experience.
Through participation in this competition, students gain technical skills relevant to the agriculture and construction equipment sector. Communication and management skills prized by future employers are gained through the competition also. Each year, the committee changes the rules to keep the event competitive and challenge the students. This helps keep one school from monopolizing the competition. Each year’s design starts with a new frame and is a blend of proven technologies from previous years and new technologies to meet the new criteria.
The Aggie Pullers take about nine months to build their tractor. They meet about twice a week in the evenings. Christopher Schilling gave us his take on how workdays have helped him. “The experiences I gained through workdays at Aggie Pullers have helped me understand the importance of setting goals, teamwork and learning new skills. Each week I must set a goal for myself which aligns with the goals of the team. I am also learning skills which will help me in the future. I have learned how to use solid works through Aggie Pullers which has helped me get ahead in school work.”
Sponsorship is critical for Aggie Pullers since it is primarily funded by outside donations along with some high-impact funds from differential tuition. For Aggie Pullers to participate in the competition and thus to provide the students with learning opportunities sponsors are needed. This year Mairead Mooney and Shelby Witte are leading the marketing efforts for the team. They would be delighted to talk with anyone interested in sponsoring the team. Please email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Article by Jessica Schaeffer.
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