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Pulling all-nighters

Members of the Badger Pulling Team have spent more than a few nights in the biological systems engineering shop as they get ready for what is probably the nation”s loudest intercollegiate competition, the International Quarter Scale Tractor Pulling Competition sponsored by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. This year”s entry has five 16-horsepower engines connected by a serpentine belt to a continuously variable transmission (donated by a Honda Civic), which allows a virtually infinite combination of gear rations for maximum pulling efficiency.

Now in its 11th-year, the idea for staging the quarter-scale tractor competition is the brainchild of a couple of UW-Madison students. Neil and Kelly Detra came up with the idea in 1998 when they were UW-Madison graduate students — Neil in agricultural engineering, Kelly in mechanical engineering with an agricultural technology focus.