Torq ‘n Tiger team builds more than quarter-scale tractors

With a high-powered level of teamwork almost anything can be accomplished. The University of Missouri’s Torq’ N Tigers quarter scale team proves this over and over.

Only a fraction of the size, quarter-scale tractors play a large role in developing a new wave of engineers. 

As a team, the Torq’ N Tigers build quarter-scale tractors for competitions in pulling, durability, and handling events at the annual International Quarter-Scale Tractor Student Design Competition, held in Peoria, Illinois.

“It basically takes an entire year to design and build a tractor,” said Mitch Hilsabeck, president of the Torq’ N Tigers.

For competition, the club splits into two teams. The A-team consist of members who have been involved on the team for a couple of years. X-team is mainly the younger guys, who have the task of redesigning 30 percent of the previous year’s tractor.

“They will design and build a tractor from scratch, so we’ll get a 31 horse-power motor and a set of rear Titan tires. Everything else we build from scratch,” Hilsabeck said.

The club works nearly year-round in order to produce the best tractors possible. The design portion of building a tractor for A-team begins directly after that year’s competition. For X-team re-design won’t start until the spring semester. Being around each other this frequently it isn’t hard to imagine how tightly knit this group becomes.

“These are the guys I hang out with all the time and talk to, even on the weekend,” Hilsabeck said. “It’s really awesome to have that group of people you can rely on. Like with the younger guys, they ask us questions all the time not only about the team, but on which class to take or if they’re having trouble with a class maybe we can help them.”

Over the course of the 16-year life span of the club, the Torq’ N Tigers have expanded their reach outside of the obvious agriculture systems management and mechanical engineering students and into other majors in the college, as well as the School of Engineering .

“The fall semester is really our big time for recruitment,” Hilsabeck said. “We’ll go to the South Farm showcase, the State Fair, the western farm show, the engineering barbecue and Fall Round Up. The team started out as four or five ASM guys, but it’s open to anybody. For instance, our president last year was in general ag.”

Over the last few years the club has expanded their recruiting base, by going to different events and visiting high schools in the St. Louis and Kansas City areas.

For David Martin, Torq’N Tigers’ current vice president, the interest in the club came through an engineering barbecue event. Martin wanted to be in an organization that allowed younger students to have responsibilities. With that criteria in mind, he found a fit with Torq’N Tigers.

“Everyone from freshman to senior was able to put in the same amount of work and get the same amount of rewards from the entire club,” Martin said. “I just enjoy the agriculture background.”

This year the Torq’N Tigers are becoming more technological.

“To get new ideas we go through the newest year’s tractor and see how they’re progressing,” Martin said. “Obviously technology is a big thing being added. In the past years, we haven’t had real electronics or data acquisition centers, so this year we are trying to add that.”

On April 29 university celebrated the 100-year anniversary of agriculture engineering at MU.  The Tigers invited schools such as Kansas State and the University of Kentucky to come and do an exhibition pull with them.

Will Robinson

About the Author Will Robinson

My name is Will Robinson, and I am a science and agricultural journalism major at the University of Missouri. The little patch of heaven that I call home sits out side the small town of Wellsville, Missouri. That’s where I was privileged to grow up on my family’s third-generation swine operation. Over the past summer I had the opportunity to work at Country 96, a radio station based out of Mexico, Missouri. On the weekends, I worked as a radio personality dubbed “The Kid.” As I progress through college, I hope to find an internship at an agricultural based radio corporation, such as the Brownfield radio network so I can further pursue broadcasting as a career. I am very excited to be writing for CAFNR Corner Post this semester.