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Jacksonville Teen in the Running for National Tractor Restoration Competition
A Jacksonville High School FFA member is hoping to ride his tractor straight to victory and earn some money for college along the way.
Seventeen year old Collin Jones completely restored a 1952 Farmall M tractor. "It took seven months and around eight hundred twenty something hours," said Jones. Not only did Jones work to pay for the tractor, but he did all the tractor restoration himself. "I actually had a Dewalt grinder and ground it all down to bare metal. Every ounce of paint on that thing was just cast iron. The whole motor is new and everything from front to back is either new or restored on it," said Jones.
All that hard work paid off...Jones is now a top 36 finalist in the national Delo Tractor Restoration Competition. He is now vying to be one of the top twelve contestants. "If I am, I will go down to Louisville, Kentucky and I will give a 15 to 20 minute presentation on the tractor," said Jones.
The top twelve contestants will be featured in a national calendar. If Jones becomes one of the top three contestants, he would win a college scholarship ranging from three to ten thousand dollars. "Not a lot of kids have completed a project of this scope that this tractor is and it shows people looking to give scholarships that he has taken a little extra time and put a lot of effort in it," said Jones' father, Mike Lonergan.
Jones is a senior at Jacksonville High School. He plans to attend a trade school after graduation and become a diesel mechanic. He says restoring the tractor was good practice, and getting help paying for school would be the icing on the cake. "It would mean a lot to mean knowing that there is scholarships out there and I know that schools are expensive nowadays and it would be great."
Jones says he loves putting new life into old tractors and has no idea the opportunities that would arise from his hobby. "I didn't even think it would come to be like this. I was planning on just restoring a tractor," said Jones. But win or lose, Jones says he won't quit his favorite pastime. He already has another tractor ready to be restored.Wednesday, April 23 2014, 10:23 AM CDT