High school student restores 1954 John Deere tractor, wins money for college

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD/Gray News) - A high school senior in Texas is feeling confident about his life after graduation after he won big bucks for presenting a 1954 John Deere tractor he restored himself.

Frenship High School senior Cade Clark restored the tractor for AG Mechanics at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo.

Clark won first place in his class, grand champion in his division, and reserve grand champion of all the tractors in San Antonio.

“I won two welders, two torches, a toolbox, two buckles and then the $10,000 scholarship,” Clark told KCBD.

He said the money would go towards college.

Clark said he didn’t do the restoration for the fame, the glory, or even the new welders. He did it for the smiles he knew he’d get when everyone saw the shiny new tractor.

“The people I bought it from, they were crying whenever it left on the trailer. I really wanted to make it nice for them,” Clark said. “Their son was helping me. I knew he really wanted to see it new.”

Clark worked 700 hours to make the tractor farm ready. He said that from the first time he started it, he knew he had done something special.

“It was like a sense of accomplishment,” Clark said.

Clark has been in Future Farmers of America for four years. He said he’s learned a lot about taking on challenges from the organization.

“It’s taught me responsibility and a lot of self-discipline,” Clark said.

Clark said those life skills will help him in his next steps. After he walks across the stage, he’s plowing into his degree in agriculture business and a future in farming.

But first, he has another stock show to focus on in Houston.

“I’m pretty confident,” Clark said. “There’s a couple of things I’ve got to do to it that the judges told me in San Antonio. Once I get those fixed I feel like I’ll do pretty well.”

Patricia Perry

Patricia Perry

Patricia Perry joined KCBD in January of 2022 as an intern then was hired as a reporter in April of 2022. She is proud to call Lubbock her hometown. Patricia watched KCBD News Channel 11 every night with her grandmother while she was growing up.