Modified mowers to enthrall teenagers at field days


mower-pull- web 6130 edited-1Modified mowers set to enthrall teenagers at field days

June 28, 2013

Henty may be a mecca for big boys toys but the roar of mower engines will have teenagers in a trance at the schools mower pull.

Students from Riverina and North East schools are rebuilding ride-on lawn mowers to compete in a three day mower pull event at the Henty Machinery Field Days on September 17-19.

Now in its seventh year, the schools mower pull will feature six regional schools compete on a track located on the southern edge of the field days.

Teams are set to compete from the NSW and Victorian schools of Billabong High, St Pauls College, Kandeer, Beechworth Secondary College, Mater Dei Catholic College and Kooringal High.

The event is run under the auspices of the Australian Tractor Pull Association.

 Co-ordinator Joe Cottam said well over 100 students had taken part in the program over the past few years.

“Young Henty Machinery Field Days visitors are also given the opportunity to participate, with more than 80 mower pullers last year,’’ Mr Cottam said.

“The event attracted a lot of interest with many spectators taking the time to come and watch.’’

The mowers will be rated at up to 17hp or 25hp, and pull a modified sled fitted with a 200kg weight box along a 50m track. Often the mowers are old trade-ins donated to schools by local dealerships.

Mr Cottam said the mower pull had helped students overcome barriers to employment and education by taking part in a fun educational activity.

He said the program had encouraged students to consider a career in metal engineering and automotive mechanical industries.

“It’s been successful at engaging the interest of students at risk of dropping out of school, and has contributed to these students gaining practical work skills and apprenticeships,’’ he said.

Mr Cottam said 12 months of planning and work went into each mower by students and teachers.

They learn hands-on skills with hand tools, basic arc welding and automotive principles.

Mr Cottam has mentored many young people at his own engineering business in Berrigan.

He is actively involved in the extreme sport of tractor pulling and was crowned Australian champion in 2012 for the third year in a row with his Open Modified 5.1 tonne division “Riverina Screamer’’.

Pushing out 2200 horsepower, the tractor is powered by a 27-litre Rolls Royce V12 twin turbo, quad cam engine with an electronic injection management system, and is fitted with imported HP2000 puller tyres.

“I originally started tractor pulling with my brother Ray in a vintage Lanz Bulldog at Berrigan in 1985,’’ Mr Cottam said.

“That old tractor didn’t go hard enough for me.

“I have since met a lot of people experienced in the field of horsepower and engines.

“Tractor pulling is a bug that I can’t get out of my system.’’

The Riverina Screamer will be on display at the Henty Machinery Field Days at the schools mower pull site, with Joe firing it up at intervals for the crowd’s enjoyment.