(NAPSI)—As a young child, Ryan Haass spent much of his time on a tractor in Devine, Texas. The Haass family heritage revolves around farming and tractor restoration. When Ryan was 10, the Texas drought was so bad that his family retired its tractors and turned to cattle ranching. With idle tractors around the farm, Ryan’s older siblings, Randolph and Amie, discovered an interest in restoration and began participating in competitions.
In a short period of time, Randolph and Amie were competing at a national level, both making it to the finals of Chevron’s Delo Tractor Restoration Competition (TRC). The annual event rewards the determination, mechanical skills and business savvy of high school-aged tractor restoration experts from around the country. Selected finalists present their projects to a panel of five judges in hopes of earning the national title. Randolph and Amie both earned the title of Reserve Champion, just shy of Grand Champion.
Following in his siblings’ footsteps, at age 11, Ryan began restoring his father’s and grandfather’s tractors.
“Watching my brother restore tractors when he was in high school sparked my interest in the hobby,” said Ryan Haass. “In 5th grade, I began entering local tractor restoration competitions in Texas. I learned it was extremely important to be knowledgeable of the entire tractor and its components in order to be successful.”
With over 15 competitions and five tractor rebuilds under his belt, Ryan had his hopes set on winning his first Delo competition in 2010. The event turned out to be a learning process, with Ryan and his 1965 Allis-Chalmers D21 not placing in the top three.
In 2011, Ryan restored his grandfather’s 1969 Case 530 tractor. It took six months, but his perseverance paid off. With the previous year’s experience to draw on, Ryan handled the pressure with ease and for the first time a member of the Haass family brought home the national title.
For his 2012 project, Ryan wanted something more complicated, so when a friend offered an abandoned 1970 Case 1070, he knew it was the perfect challenge. The engine technology was more advanced than anything he’d previously worked on, but Ryan embraced the opportunity to expand his knowledge of older tractors.
According to the Delo TRC judges, the 2012 event was one of the toughest in years, so Ryan had his work cut out for him. Far from a novice, Ryan again demonstrated his mastery of tractor restoration by answering the judges’ increasingly difficult questions. When the dust had settled, he became only the second two-time winner in the competition’s history.
“My experience with Delo TRC has taught me a lot beyond tractor restoration and prepared me for future business endeavors,” said Haass. “I got real-life practice speaking in public and addressing a panel of judges. The competition also allowed me to travel to the World Ag Expo in California and provided me the opportunity to meet mechanical professors in Texas.”
Ryan is attending Tarleton State University in Fort Worth, Texas and studying business administration. He is taking a break from tractor restoration for a while but plans to open a diesel performance business in the future.
Chevron’s Delo Tractor Restoration Competition is now open to any high school-aged team or individual who restores a tractor and completes the required documentation. The Grand Champion receives a $10,000 cash prize. For detailed information on the program, go to www.DeloTractorRestorationCompetition.com.
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