Tractor restoration projects are labor of love for high school senior
There’s a saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
It’s true for Bellefonte Area High School senior Trevor Mauk who finds old tractors and restores them to their former glory – some which he has found in junkyards. It’s a hobby he’s been exposed to since he was a child as his father Chris has a similar interest.
“I got into restoring tractors with my father when I was little and have really enjoyed it,” Mauk said. “I decided to restore this (1952 John Deere Model 50) as an FFA project and took it down to the (Pennsylvania) Farm Show in January.”
He won best presentation and best record book in the antique tractor restoration contest, and narrowly missed best overall project after he added a chrome stack exhaust, which wasn’t original. Now corrected to include a muffler instead, he entered the same tractor into the Delo Tractor Restoration competition sponsored by Chevron and is already a finalist. Normally the competition would be held in Indianapolis at the National FFA Convention and Expo, but is being done virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mauk presents at the end of October.
“I first got interested in competitions when my teacher Mrs. (Myken) Poorman introduced me to it,” he said. “I started doing the restorations and figured I’d enter it in other competitions while it’s still fresh.”
Poorman is the agricultural sciences teacher and FFA adviser at BAHS. FFA, once known as Future Farmers of America, but now just goes by its acronym, is a youth leadership organization promoting business and agriculture education and other STEM-related careers such as that in science, technology, engineering and math.
Mauk has restored three tractors himself – two Cub Cadets and the 1952 John Deere Model 50. He helped restore about five more with his father, and is currently working on another for next year’s Delo competition.
But his favorite is the 1952 John Deere Model 50, because it’s the one he said he put in the most time and money – more than 500 hours of work and more than $8,800, which he worked three jobs to pay for.
“It’s something I’ve always done and something I’ll probably do forever,” Mauk said. “I didn’t grow up playing video games; you could always find me out in the garage.”
Mauk is also a student at Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology studying in the welding program with longtime instructor Ed Finnefrock.
See a video of his project Mauk presented at the 2020 PA Farm Show: PA Farm Show video. To see video about how he got into restoring tractors, visit this link: Tractor restoration
*By Brit Milazzo, public relations director, BASD