POMONA — Restoring old tractors has become a passion for a Pomona resident.

Hunter McCurdy began transforming vintage tractors while working on his grandfather's farm in Pomona. In fact, his restoration projects have captured several awards. 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 with the help of his grandfather.

“I rode countless hours on my grandpa’s lap on his tractor,” he said.

That time spent on his grandfather’s farm in Pomona, 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.

McCurdy’s love for tractors is more than a hobby. He expects to make a career in agriculture mechanics and the equipment industry.

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,” McCurdy said. “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. McCurdy is enrolled at Pratt Community College’s Agriculture Power Tech program, working toward an associates degree. The program works in eight-week cycles, split between schooling and an internship at his sponsoring dealership, KanEquip, at their Ottawa location. He began working at the dealership this past summer before school began.

“I loved every minute of it,” he said,

McCurdy worked on a wide range of equipment from tractors to lawn mowers this past summer. He finds the program a natural fit and likes what he’s learning.

“You come out not only learning a lot of mechanics, but also life skills, like time management,” McCurdy said.

When he finishes the program and internship, he’s looking forward to joining KanEquip’s team of technicians full time.

“I have a strong desire to make a career of repairing and maintaining agriculture equipment to help farmers and ranchers succeed,” McCurdy said.