Nathaniel O’Brien of the Manawa FFA is the 2011 Winner of the Wisconsin Association of FFA State Safe Tractor Operator Contest held Tuesday, July 12 at the Wisconsin Farm Technology Days site in Marathon County.
FFA members from around the state can compete in their local and sectional Safe Tractor Operator Contests and must be named one of the 10 sectional winners in order to advance to the State FFA Contest.
A contestant must be at least 14 years of age and have successfully completed the tractor certification course or be 16 years of age and have completed at least one year of agricultural education and be enrolled in classes the current calendar year of the contest.
Jordan Liermann of Kiel FFA placed second and Josh Reimer of Reedsburg FFA was third.
The Safe Tractor Operator Contest involves four major parts – Written Exam, Practical Exam, Two Wheel Driving Event and Four-Wheel Driving Event. In addition, contestants are also scored on safety anytime they are operating the tractor during the contest.
The contestants take a 50 question Written Exam. Questions are asked about anything from tractor safety to maintenance. The Practical Examination consists of the inspection of a tractor for maintenance and safety items. The basis for selecting these items will be a routine daily check-up. Some of the unsafe items that contestants could look for would be the SMV emblem missing, lights not operational, crankcase fluid low, etc. The Two-Wheel and Four-Wheel Events involve driving courses each with a 5 minute time limit and demonstrating safety and skillful driving.
The purpose of the contest is to promote and encourage safe and skillful farm tractor operation, in addition to providing members an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of tractor maintenance and safety.
The State Safe Tractor Operator Contest is sponsored by Rural Mutual Insurance Company through the Wisconsin FFA Foundation, Inc. FFA Advisors Mark Zimmerman of Spencer, Rebecca Wirkus of Stratford and Gary Wirkus formerly of Colby served as hosts of the event and coordinated the set up and equipment for the contest.