N-P FFA member claims top prizes for restored tractor, equipment in Des Moines
By Bob Fenske, Nashua Reporter Editor
When Shane Hillesheim saw the tractors his 1957 Oliver Super 55 was up against, he had hope.
“I didn’t think I’d win it, but I thought I’d finish right up there,” the Nashua-Plainfield High School senior said.
“There were a lot of good tractors, a lot of tough competition, but I felt I was up there with some of them.”
It turned out that the Oliver Super 55 wasn’t right up there with the rest of them; it was better than all of them as Hillesheim was named champion of the Iowa State Fair’s Restored Tractor by a First-Time Exhibitor last Friday.
And for good measure, he also garnered the top prize for restored farm equipment with a 32-40 Oliver plow that was built sometime in the 1950s.
“The tractor took way more work than the plow, trust me on that,” Hillesheim said, “but it was pretty cool the way it turned out.”
Hillesheim estimated he spent more than 300 hours on the tractor. He began work on it in late March and completed the project the week before the State Fair started.
Considering he was in school until early June and also played baseball this summer, that made for some odd tractor restoring hours.
“I had a few late nights,” he said and then added with a laugh, “Well, maybe more than a few late nights.”
Still, he said, it was worth it.
He said he learned a lot through the process of restoring the tractor, starting with patience.
“It’s not like a one-night thing,” he said. “And I knew that. But it probably took longer than I thought it would. But I wanted it to be good.”
And obviously, it was.
A day after winning his titles, he drove in the State Fair’s annual Parade of Champions.
“I’m not going to lie, that was pretty cool,” he said. “It was a lot of work to restore the tractor and the plow, but I learned a lot, too. Even if I hadn’t won, I’d still be proud of it.”
He paused and laughed.
“But I’m glad I won.”
The Nashua-Plainfield FFA chapter finished sixth in the Herdmanship Awards while Kylie Dietz of Nashua won second place in photography judging’s landscape outside Iowa division.