Making a statement
Team shirts often carry interesting messages. This year there were a few. We enjoyed the Charlie Daniels reference and the engineering approach - both from University of Nebraska-Lincoln. And of course there were others.
Sharing the spirit
As the teams move across the country there's no question they're showing their colors on the road. These trailer logos share the team's spirit and let the world know they're pullers too. It also shows the commitment to the program as teams have pulled together support trailers, tools and other gear to get their tractors built and keep them running.
Everyone on board
Many people looking at this display for the first time might be surprised to find the level of support from the major equipment makers. AGCO, Case IH, Caterpillar, John Deere, New Holland and more all have a vested interest in the competition. In fact many folks heading up key projects at these companies go their start as competitors in the competition.
Getting the word out
Brandon McDonald, event co-chair and an engineer at John Deere, was tapped to be interviewed by local media that came to Peoria's Exposition Gardens to see what all the fuss was about. The event got solid local television coverage this year.
Watching the process
Students on these teams also like to watch how others do, especially during tech inspection when tractors get checked out for everything from braking to engine idle speed. Safety is paramount in the process, and this year three tractors made it all the way through tech'ing in one pass - Ohio State University, Kansas State University and University of Kentucky.
When that lift rises, the tractor is not supposed to move. This static test of a machine's brakes has been a challenge in the past, but several judges commented this year that more tractors cleared this station in one pass than ever before. Of course they don't count how many feet it takes the drive to keep the machine still on the incline - perhaps extra points if only one foot is on the brake next year?
A new test
This year, judges instituted a new test. The tractor must stop cleanly on the second square and back cleanly to the first. This is a key maneuver every tractor has to perform at the pull just to hook up to the sled, but in the past it has been a challenge.
Even though the driver takes the tractor through tech, they're usually never alone as team members come along for quick last-minute adjustments or to watch the process and bite nails over worries the machine won't make it through. The Ohio State machine here had no problems.
Keeping in touch
Last year we showed a tablet display, and we saw a few of those in the past. This Racepak display gives the Ohio State operator a heads-up view of machine stats during operation.
Last minute prep
Tractors arrive on site with a little work still to be done, sometimes. For the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a few final touches were needed before the machine went through tech inspection. Their two-part frame was an interesting design.
This is what the final Nebraska tractor looked like pulling down the track. It performed well in the pull, and note the comfortable operator platform. The seat was custom upholstered to get just the right Nebraska colors.
Last-minute details about the pull, and a roll-call for teams is part of the action ahead of the pull. The 2014 pull went smoothly this year as teams were ready to roll when the time for pulling arrived.
And pulling in third place…
Texas A&M earned third-place honors in the tractor pull this year. The team's two-wheel drive design was a solid performer that earned high marks. The overall third-place winner of the competition was Ohio State University.
Kansas State University came in second in the tractor pull, and second overall in the competition. The forward operator station, a hallmark of the tractor design the team uses as a base, has front-wheel assist which helped it pull well down the track.
And the winner
University of Kentucky took top honors in the 2014 competition and the team won three of the four tractor pull hooks as well, getting edged out in the last 1,500-pound hook by Modesto Junior College. The UK team uses a two-wheel drive design that has served it well. This model allows the operator to change the frame length at the flip of a switch, for enhance performance in the maneuverability challenge. You can learn more about the competition by the ASABE Quarter Scale page