For the Cumberland Times-News
OAKLAND — The Maryland 4-H Engineering Team included three Garrett County members, one of whom placed first in his competition, the tractor operator event.
Levi Lantz displayed the best driving skills and posted the best test score, finishing the contest nearly 100 points ahead of the next contestant. He received a plaque and champion ribbon for his achievements.
Mikail Perrine placed second in the lawn and garden tractor event. He had a very good driving score and excelled on the exam and the parts identifications.
Aaron Lantz placed seventh in the welding contest. He was required to take a test on welding knowledge, give a visual presentation on his welding project and weld a predefined project.
The 11-member state team traveled to Lafayette, Ind., for the 62th National 4-H Engineering Challenge held Sept. 23 through 25. Members participated in individual and team events and a team of eight competed in the 4-H Engineering Bowl.
They also attended educational workshops at Purdue University and field trips to Ice Cream Specialties and Lafayette Interior Fashions. The event had 50 youth from nine states competing in nine project areas.
Most of the Maryland team members were the state grand champions in 4-H Engineering Events at the Maryland State Fair. The Garrett County participants also participated in the county engineering events held as part of the Garrett County Fair.
The national events include tractor operator safety, lawn tractor, arc welding, small engines, electric/energy, computer, robotics, aerospace and bicycle.
The National 4-H Engineering Event started with tractor driving in 1953. The event has remained one of the most competitive with contestants from most of the Midwestern states.
Contestants complete an exam on tractor operation and safety, identify the external and internal parts of a tractor, and complete two driving skills.
The driving skills require the contestant to back a two-wheel cart down a 40-foot alley with 1-foot clearance, travel through a figure 8 obstacle and back into a shed with 6 inches of clearance on the sides and be within 1 inch of the back wall.