Heyworth FFA members restore a tractor each year and raffle it off as a chapter fundraiser. (Photo by Carrie Muehling/WJBC)
By Carrie Muehling
PEORIA - Members of the Heyworth FFA Chapter use the Greater Peoria Farm Show each year as the first opportunity to show the public their most recently restored antique tractor.
The students raffled off last year's tractor just a few weeks ago, and will spend the coming year taking the tractor all over Illinois to farm shows and other events.
"This year's tractor is a 1960 Ford Model 641 Workmaster," said Matt Toohill, Heyworth FFA freshman. "We got it and we restored all of it. We didn't convert it to a 12-volt. We kept it a 6-volt. We repainted everything. We got new tire treads. We had to go get the generator for it fixed."
The students spend most of the school year restoring the tractor as an out of class project, volunteering their time. They then sell chances on the tractor for $5 each. The money raised goes to support chapter activites.
"We are able to go to important conventions and conferences, like national and state convention and Women in Ag. We can go to different contests," said Shirley Estes, sophomore from the Heyworth FFA Chapter. "Our chapter also has scholarship opportunities, so if you get first place in a contest you earn $50. So, that helps with that."
Working at the farm show is a good learning experience for the students on a number of levels as they get to interact with farm show visitors and see other restored tractors on display by area antique tractor clubs.
"Not only are they working on their communication skills, but they're also going and seeing the history of the agricultural sector," said Kara Watson, who is student teaching at Heyworth this semester. Watson will graduate from Illinois State University in a few weeks.
The chapter will raffle off the current tractor in the fall of 2013.
Carrie Muehling can be reached at email@example.com.