When you’ve won awards for your tractor restorations, it’s not a stretch to imagine making your career in agriculture mechanics and the equipment industry. And that’s just the path that Hunter McCurdy is taking.
He was awarded the Reserve Grand Champion in tractor restoration in 2016 and then Grand Champion in 2018 at the Kansas State Fair. His love of tractors started young. “I rode countless hours on my grandpa’s lap on his tractor,” he says. That time spent on his grandfather’s farm in Pomona, Kansas, which now belongs to his parents, morphed into working on, fixing and restoring tractors, including his great grandfather’s 1966 Allis Chalmers D-17, which won the top prize.
Hunter spent his high school years fully restoring two Allis Chalmers tractors of his own and getting two others in running condition, through FFA projects. And that’s in addition to restoring 10 tractors and repairing four others through his 4-H Tractor Restoration Club projects.
“I love seeing the outcome of what you can do when you restore them” Hunter says. “You take an old rusty tractor and get it running right, so it looks and sounds great.” It’s this love of working with agricultural equipment that led him to his current course of study.
For the Love of It
He’s currently enrolled in his first year at Pratt Community College’s Agriculture Power Tech program, getting his Associates Degree. The program works in eight-week cycles, split between schooling and an internship at his sponsoring dealership, KanEquip, at their Ottawa, Kansas, location. He began working at the dealership this past summer before his first school term began. “I loved every minute of it,” he says, adding that he worked on a wide range of equipment from tractors to lawn mowers.
Hunter finds the program he is in a natural fit and enjoys what he’s learning. “You come out not only learning a lot of mechanics, but also life skills, like time management,” he says. When he finishes his schooling and internship, he’s looking forward to joining the team of technicians at KanEquip full time. “I have a strong desire to make a career of repairing and maintaining agriculture equipment to help farmers and ranchers succeed,” he says.
To help him on his career path, he has received a scholarship from the Equipment Dealers Foundation, which has been matched by KanEquip. Hunter says he is thankful for the scholarship and grateful for the financial support to help him reach his educational goals.
Those at KanEquip are looking forward to having Hunter on their team. “Hunter has displayed a passion for becoming an ag technician,” says Richard Dugan, ag technician recruiter and trainer for KanEquip. “He is very talented in the area of mechanics, and his skill set and experience in tractor restoration is ideal for our sponsorship program as well as being an employee of KanEquip. He is actively involved in the industry and has the potential to be a top technician.”
About the Scholarship
The EDF was established in 1988 to provide scholarship funding to help meet the industry’s needs for trained individuals. EDF also provides temporary assistance for dealerships and its employees affected by natural disasters. Learn more about EDF here.