With his fully restored 1949 John Deere B, Ryder Merta of El Campo FFA has been selected as one of the finalists in the 2018 Delo Tractor Restoration competition.
Chevron Products Company, a Chevron U.S.A. Inc. division, maker of the Delo brand of technologically advanced engine oils, lubricants and coolants, released the list of finalists this week. Merta will be one of the country’s top teen tractor restoration specialists to compete in this event during the 90th National Future Farmers of America Convention in Indianapolis, Ind. in October. It is the only of its kind.
All entrants to the Delo Tractor Restoration Competition are required to submit a workbook detailing the entire tractor restoration process, from mechanical overhauls of the engine, transmission and auxiliary and ancillary systems, to the external appearance of the tractors. Judges review these workbooks and entrant videos to select competition finalists.
Over a two day period, the 12 finalists present their projects to a panel of four professional tractor restorers. Each project is then graded on the restoration process, safety precautions, results, documentation, oral presentation and responses to the judge’s questions.
Since 1995 the Delo Tractor Restoration Competition has rewarded the determination, mechanical skills and business savvy of high school-aged tractor restoration experts from around the country. Through the restoration of an antique tractor, participants develop skills applicable to the modern business world. The skills needed for success in the program – equipment maintenance, teamwork, project management, budgeting, planning, and marketing – help develop the participants into future leaders in the agriculture community.
“This is Ryder’s fourth year to qualify and attend the Delo National Tractor Restoration Contest and the National FFA Convention,” FFA Advisor Aaron Wilson said. “As El Campo FFA advisors we are proud of his accomplishments and all of the hard work he has put into his tractor restoration projects. Ryder has a true passion for restoring old tractors and has done an outstanding job. His skills and knowledge through restoring tractors has been proven as he helped lead the El Campo FFA tractor tech team to a second place finish at Area and sixth place finish at State.”
At an awards banquet held on the final evening of the competition, winners will be announced. The Grand Champion will be awarded $10,000, the Reserve Champion receives $5,000, and third place takes home $3,000.
Eight of the 12 finalists, including Merta, are from Texas. Finalists for the competition are as follows:
• Ryder Merta, El Campo FFA, El Campo, TX: 1949, John Deere B
• Everett Herrington, Idalou FFA, Idalou, TX: 1968 Massey-Ferguson
• Austin Reynolds, Ira FFA, Ira, TX: 1955: Farmall Cub
• Austin Chavez, Cuero High School, Cuero, TX: 1965 John Deere Model 4020
• Ricky Schilling, Fayetteville ISD #278, Fayetteville, TX: 1960 John Deere 1960 JD 435
• Four Rivers Career H.S., Four Rivers Career Center Night Shift, Washington, MO: 1949 John Deere Model “A”
• Devin Haywood, Hastings FFA, Hastings, MI: 1957 Farmall 450 Diesel
• Box Elder High School, Box Elder FFA, Brigham City, UT: 1949 Farmall C
• Riley Dalrymple, Uvalde FFA, Uvalde, TX: 1925 John Deere D
• NorthWood High School, NorthWood FFA, Nappanee, IN: 1950 John Deere MT • Corey Verstraeten, Southwest FFA, San Antonio, TX: 1955 Oliver Super 88 L-P
• Mack Blair, Dubiski Career High School FFA, Grand Prairie, TX: 1949 John Deere A
During the finals competition on Tuesday, Oct. 24 and Wednesday, 25, event updates and the results will be posted on the program’s Facebook page in real time.