Tyler Schimke of Paso Robles FFA and his restored 1945 Farmall A have made the final cut and remain in the mix for a $10,000 grand prize.

Chevron Products Company, a Chevron U.S.A. Inc. division, maker of the Delo brand of technologically advanced engine oils, lubricants and coolants, recently announced the 12 finalists for its 2019 Delo Tractor Restoration Competition. The event brings the country’s top teen tractor restoration specialists to Indianapolis, Ind., — during the 91st National FFA (Future Farmers of America) Convention — to compete in the only national competition of its kind.

At an awards banquet to be held on Oct. 31, winners will be announced. Updates from the banquet will be shared online via social media in real-time. The Grand Champion will be awarded $10,000, the Reserve Champion receives $5,000, and third place takes home $3,000.

“If I were to win, it would be amazing and a dream come true,” said Schimke, who graduated from Paso Robles High School in June and now attends Cuesta College. “The other participants are tough and have fantastic tractors.”

This is not a one-off for Schimke, who restored a 1956 Farmall 300 LP tractor last year. The most recent restoration — the 1945 Farmall A — began October 2018 and was completed July 2019. The 1945 International Harvester Farmall A was a small tractor produced during the Second World War. The Farmall A utilized the company’s Culti-Vision offset engine/front end design, along with a wide front wheel track and dropped axles.

“From working on my project, my self-confidence grew and I found a life-long interest in agriculture mechanics,” Schimke said.

He will be representing not only the Central Coast, but California as well since he is the only competitor from the state to make the cut. Six of the final 12 hail from Texas.

“I was very excited when I found out I made it to the finals,” the 18-year-old Schimke said. “I’m very thankful for all of those who helped me along the route: my mentor, Mr. Tim Hartzell, my parents, the JB Dewar team, Mr. Richard Morgantini, Rainbow Marine Paint, Mark’s Tire and more.”

Schimke said he is looking forward to driving the tractor in this Saturday’s 89th annual Pioneer Day Parade, just one of many events for
the tractor.

“I will also take it to parades and the Santa Margarita Best of the West Tractor Show,” Schimke said. “If the tractor wins, it will be hauled to places throughout the USA by DELO. I will use the tractor, as a tractor, when all is said and done.”

People can help Schimke in the competition by visiting and voting at delotrcvoting.com. Votes go toward the video part of the competition only.

Schimke said the tractor came from a vineyard owner in Paso Robles. He brought the tractor home and completely disassembled the engine, transmission, final drives, ancillary
and auxiliary systems.

He replaced sleeves, pistons, bearings, seals and gaskets on a complete engine overhaul. He restored the auxiliary systems. He purchased a replacement wiring system.

“Everything was disassembled, repaired and reassembled,” Schimke said. “This took time, patience, knowledge and funding for the project.”

Morgantini and the California International Harvester’s Collectors Club each donated $1,000 to the restoration and many others made contributions as well.

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.  

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 two days, 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.