Central Virginia showed well at the recent 2016 Virginia 4-H Tractor Operators Contest. Garrett Hopkins of the Orange County 4-H Club placed first, and Cody Johnson of the Three Rivers 4-H Livestock Club placed second in the event.

The Virginia Beef Expo hosted the competition April 15 at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

The Tractor Operators Contest provides 4-H members an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of tractor maintenance, safety, and skill in operation. The contest includes the following events: operating a tractor with two-wheel implement attached, operating a tractor with four-wheel implement attached, and written and parts identification examination.

Hopkins, of Louisa, and Johnson, of Hanover County, will have the opportunity to represent Virginia at the National 4-H Engineering Challenge in September. The National 4-H Engineering Challenge is the premier event within the National 4-H program that allows talented youth from around the country to assemble together to showcase their knowledge and skills in a variety of individual and team-based engineering contests and activities. While this event has become increasingly focused on engineering, traditional events, such as tractor operation, have been retained and continue to play a big part in the challenge. By incorporating new technologies, such as global positioning system technology, the tractor operation event will begin to take on more of an engineering focus over time.

The Engineering Challenge is hosted over a three-day period each fall by Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. In addition to the competitive events and challenges, in keeping with the engineering theme, tours of industry are provided where the participants are able to see in practice various engineering principles as they relate to design, manufacturing, or other types of production of goods and services. The group also visits the campus of Purdue University. After the campus tour, contest youth divide into groups and participate in hands-on educational programs related to engineering at several campus locations.

Written by Amy Loeffler.


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