Ryan Haass, Winner of the 2011 Delo Tractor Restoration Competition

Meet Ryan Haass: Future of old iron, talented tractor restorer and grand champion of the 2011 Delo Tractor Restoration Competition


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Ryan Haass, grand champion of the 2011 Delo Tractor Restoration Competition, with his award winning 1969 Case 530

Ryan Haass, grand champion of the 2011 Delo Tractor Restoration Competition, with his award winning 1969 Case 530.

If there is a royal family for the Delo Tractor Restoration Competition, it just might be the Haass family of Texas. And the reigning king of that talented family is youngest son, Ryan, who on October 20 took home the crown for his incredibly intricate restoration of a 1969 Case 530. 

Since 1995, the Chevron Delo Tractor Restoration Competition has given FFA groups from across the country a stage to present their restoration projects. Judged by a group of five talented and experienced tractor restorers with more than 150 years of combined experience, the teens who participate use not only their final project to show their talents, but must also prove their knowledge of the ins and outs of tractor restoration through workbooks, presentations and interviews with the judges.

The grand champion is awarded a $5,000 prize, the reserve champion is awarded a $3,000 prize and the third place contestant is awarded a $1,500 prize. “It is an opportunity for youth to continue to do things hands on and give back to their communities,” says Channing Reeder, indirect channel marketing specialist with Chevron Lubricants. “A lot of these teens may go into farming, but it also may open their eyes to pursue something else so they go to college to study it. The competition gives them a perspective for what they can do with their lives. Marketing, pitching your creation, the ability to present and defend their work – you see a lot of that in real world business.”

Since 2003, members of the Haass family have placed four times in the competition; brother Randolph won third place in 2003 and reserve champion in 2004, while sister Amie won reserve champion in 2007. But Ryan finally brought the grand championship home to the family this year.

“Ryan comes from a family who has a history of restoring tractors,” Channing says. “The judges’ interview is probably the hardest part. Standing in front of people who are experts on the subject matter gives no opportunity for them to pull the wool over the judges’ eyes. Ryan had no hesitation and was very confident. He knew the tractor inside and out.”

Ryan restored the first tractor his grandfather ever purchased, a 1969 Case 530. His grandfather’s tractor was in bad shape when Ryan began working on it. “The rear end case of the tractor was hollow, everything was out of it,” he says. “We put some used parts in it, and put some new parts in it. We reset the tolerances between the parts.” Ryan resleeved the engine, and put in new pistons, bearings and all new valves. He replaced the valve springs and gave the Case a pristine paint job.