By Cassie Olson
LOUISVILLE – When Riley Hanson decided to restore an Allis Chalmers WD tractor in 2012, he never imagined where the path would lead him.
“I was at the Wisconsin state FFA convention when I first heard of the Delo Tractor Restoration Competition,” Hanson, a four-year Melrose-Mindoro FFA member, said.
Hanson submitted a workbook, a collection of photos and exhibits on the work he had put into his project. When he got word of his results, he couldn’t believe it.
“I never imagined being one of the 12 finalists,” Hanson said. “Soon I was travelling to Indianapolis to give a 20-minute presentation to a panel of five judges.”
Although humbled being selected for the top 12, Hanson returned home without one of the top three prizes. With newfound determination, he quickly got back to the grind.
“I bought my 1953 Super H Farmall in December 2013,” Hanson said. He purchased the tractor from Douglas Pierce of Bangor, Wis., who purchased the tractor when it was new in 1953.
“The tractor sat for 15 years before I purchased it. The engine turned over for me, but there was a lot of work to be done,” he said.
Hanson was diligent, putting in 688 hours of hard work and dedication in order to meet the August deadline. When he received notification of his top 12 placing again, he was determined to make this second chance count. On Oct. 31, 2013, Hanson was honored to win the Delo Tractor Restoration Competition.
“I was shocked,” Hanson laughed. “My goal was to make it into the top three. Never would I have expected winning the competition.”
Hanson is incredibly proud of his work. He restored his Farmall tractor to factory condition, compete with new tires stamped with the FFA emblem courtesy of the Titan Tires Corporation. He has travelled the country with Delo, including to the World Agriculture Expo in California and Farm Progress Days in Iowa, and returned to the Wisconsin state FFA convention in June.
But he isn’t finished yet.
“I’ve purchased a SC Case from my uncle that I plan to restore,” Hanson added. “I may be too old to compete in the competition, but this is something I love.”
Hanson is now attending Western Technical College in La Crosse, Wis., studying diesel and heavy equipment. His love for restoring tractors continues and is happy to continue the hobby.
Hanson is showcasing his tractor with Chevron Lubricants at the National FFA Convention & Expo and can be found at booth #1453. The 2014 Delo Tractor Restoration competition winner will be selected on Friday at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville.