Old tractors get new life
Floresville FFA members (l-r) Alejandro Baker, Matthew Pollok, and Trevor Moy smile among the honors they earned after restoring this 1934 John Deere Model A.
Combine old tractors in need of tender loving care with tenacious FFA students, hard work, and rare parts, and what do you get? In the case of three Floresville FFA teams, you get some well-deserved recognition.
One team earned reserve champion honors in Kingsville in April. All returned from competition with ribbons and accolades.
“This year, Floresville FFA restored three tractors -- all were from the 1930s,” said Floresville ag teacher Michael Billings. “This made things very competitive, since they would be competing against each other at all the shows.” Billings explained that the tractors are categorized by the year the tractor was manufactured.
1937 John Deere B
Will Lanier and Gus Herring restored a 1937 John Deere B, owned by James Hambright. This tractor had not been operational for more than 40 years, but had remained in the Hambright family since it was purchased new in Ballinger.
According to Tractor.Data.com, this small row-crop tractor was manufactured from 1935-38.
The refurbished tractor placed fifth in the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo in February, won its class in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in March, and was named reserve champion in the April 28 project show in Kingsville.
Austin Reed, Kaylie Reed, and Kylie Reed restored a 1935 Farmall F-20, owned by Mike Hail of Lampasas.
The tractor had not been operational in years, and the biggest challenge was obtaining the needed parts.
“We bought two additional part tractors to complete this one,” Billings said. “Many parts and bearings for this project became obsolete back in the 1950s.”
“The tractor is started by a hand crank and will now start on the first pull pretty consistently,” Billings said.
The row-crop tractor, manufactured by International Harvester, is one of the last painted in gray; after November 1936, the tractors were painted red. According to TractorData.com, 154,398 of these were built. In 1936, farmers paid $1,000 to purchase the “Increased-Power Farmall.”
The refurbished tractor placed second in the San Antonio show and fourth in Houston. The team received a blue ribbon for quality in Kingsville in April.
1934 John Deere Model A
Another John Deere tractor also was refurbished, this time a 1934 John Deere Model A, owned by James and Clinton Noll of Falls City. Alejandro Baker, Trevor Moy, and Matthew Pollok worked to restore it for competition.
“The tractor was originally out of the Robstown area, and had lots of rust and missing parts,” Billings said. “Being a very early tractor meant that parts were very difficult to come by.”
Billings credits the Noll family for tracking down all the parts.
The row-crop, two-cylinder tractor, manufactured by John Deere, cost a farmer $2,400 in 1952 to purchase. It was the first to come from the factory with rubber tires.
This project placed sixth in San Antonio, received a blue ribbon for quality in the Houston show, and placed third in Kingsville.
Another Floresville FFA member got to show his skills in Kingsville, too.
Corey Opiela, sponsored by Fabian Jarzombek, displayed his welding skills by building a barbecue trailer. He earned a blue ribbon for quality at the Kingsville show.