Cyclone Power Pullers' 1/4 scale tractor scores big, earns third place finish

AMES, Iowa -- Clint Recker was happy to recite the final results for "PestiCYde":

Let's see, he said, Iowa State University's 1/4 scale pulling tractor finished first in serviceability. Second in written design. Second in safety. Third in maneuverability. Fourth in manufacturability. Sixth in pulling. That added up to third overall.

And sound? Wasn't there a sound test at the 2008 1/4 Scale Tractor Student Design Competition May 29-June 1 in Peoria, Ill. The annual contest is sponsored by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. It challenges university students from across the country and Canada to design and build 1/4 scale pulling tractors.

Well, said Recker, a senior from Arlington who's studying agricultural engineering and is the president of the Cyclone Power Pullers, the team's tractor had a lot strengths, but it didn't do so well in the sound tests. It, after all, carries five V-2 engines and 80 horsepower. So it is a little loud.

But that's about the only criticism Recker had for the team's tractor after Iowa State's third place finish in the society's annual competition. This year's contest attracted 26 teams. The team from Kansas State University won and second place went to the University of Laval from Quebec City in Canada.

"We are very pleased with how things have gone," Recker said. "A lot of people have worked really hard. And a big thanks to all of our sponsors."

Recker said the team's highest ever finish was second place in 1998. Last year, the team finished 18th.

"This is a huge jump for us," he said.

And so Recker thinks the team has a good tractor and some momentum. Both could lead to even better finishes next year.

"To get to the first or second spots, you need to work on the little things," he said. "You need polish to get to the No. 1 spot that we want."