Tyler Burgess, a 4-H member from Franklin, Virginia, won the 2016 National Youth Lawn Tractor Challenge on Sept. 27 in Lafayette, Indiana.

The event is designed to give youth participating in lawn tractor-focused educational programs an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in the areas of lawn care, business management, lawn and garden tractor operation, and maintenance and safety.

Burgess competed against youth from around the country to win the title. He won after completing a written exam, identifying mechanical parts, and demonstrating safe operation of a lawn tractor through an obstacle course. 

The competition is part of the National Youth Engineering Challenge, originally called the Eastern and the Central and Western U.S. Tractor Operators' Contests. Together these two popular annual events drew participants from most of the states. Today, the event is called the National 4-H Engineering Challenge.

The challenge is the premier event within the national 4-H program that allows talented youth from around the country to assemble 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 lawn tractor operation, have been retained and continue to play a big part.

The contest was hosted by Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

In addition to the competitive events and challenges, participants saw the practical applications of various engineering principles as they relate to design and manufacturing on tours of manufacturing plants, including heavy equipment manufacturer Caterpillar and  automotive manufacturer Subaru. Participants also visited the mechanical and agricultural engineering programs on the campus of Purdue University.

Written by Amy Loeffler

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