Serving Minnesota and Northern Iowa.

Mulder's tractor needs your vote

By Jean Caspers-Simmet

Date Modified: 10/22/2012 2:56 PM

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PARKERSBURG, Iowa —Aaron Mulder could use your vote.

The Aplington-Parkersburg FFA member's 1965 John Deere 3020 Standard tractor is part of the 2012 Delo Tractor Restoration Competition. Twenty-eight tractors from throughout the country are entered in the competition.

Mulder's is the only entry from Iowa and there are none from Minnesota.

The competition continues through Oct. 22 with online voting for the favorite video. You can help Mulder by voting for his video at In this election, voting often is encouraged.

Mulder's video highlights the special features of his restored 3020 and shows him driving his tractor. The high school junior has a cast on his hand because he broke his finger at football practice the first day of pads this fall.

Background music is "Big Green Tractor."

"The online voting is a fun way to involve family and friends," said Lynne, Mulder's mom.

The FFA member whose video gets the most votes wins a Kindle Fire. Second place is a $100 gift certificate.

Last week 12 finalists, who will compete at the National FFA Convention, were announced. Mulder wasn't one of the finalists, but he's proud of his restoration job all the same. He spent more than 300 hours on the project. In addition to making the video, he logged his time, activities and expenses and wrote essays for a workbook.

Mulder's FFA supervised agricultural experience is growing soybeans. He has an older brother, Brett, who attends Hawkeye Community College to become an agriculture teacher.

Mulder's former FFA advisor John Daniels encouraged him to restore a tractor after Daniels saw the six tractors Mulder's father, Dennis, has restored. A member of the Two-Cylinder Club, Dennis has been restoring John Deeres since 2003 with Mulder working alongside him.

"I picked the 3020 Standard because I liked it, and it was in pretty good shape," Mulder said. "We bought it from a guy from Waverly who got it on an auction in Canada."

Through the Two-Cylinder Club's serial number search, they learned the tractor was built in Waterloo and shipped to Choiceland, Saskatchewan. Mulder and Lynne contacted the Choiceland city offices and were put in touch with a former John Deere dealer. He provided information on what the tractor was used for. Farmers there grow mainly wheat.

"I started from the front and worked my way to the back and checked everything over," Mulder said. "It needed a new fuel tank and radiator, and the brakes needed work."

He helped a family friend who did the body work and painting. He qualified for free tires for his restoration through Titan Tire.

"It took a year from start to finish," Mulder said. "It was hard at times, but it all fell into place. It was pretty cool when it was done."

The 3020 Standard has different fenders and a wide front compared to 3020 Row Crop tractors. It has a swinging draw bar in back and original dust shields. Only about 3,000 3020 Standards were built, and just a few remain.

Mulder drove his tractor in the Parkersburg parade last summer and exhibited at the Two Cylinder Expo in Waterloo. He plans to show a restored tractor at next year's Iowa State Fair.

Mulder's new FFA advisor Carlton Ness, who restored a tractor when he was in high school, continues to encourage him.

Mulder said his dad "thinks it's pretty cool" that he restored a tractor that's in a national competition.

Mulder has this advice for anyone thinking of restoring a tractor.

"Make sure you have a parts book, work with someone who knows what they're doing and have patience," he said.

Mulder wants to go to college and then farm. He admits he's been bit by the restoration bug. His next project will be a 1969 John Deere 4020 Standard.