SAN ANGELO, Texas (Concho Valley Homepage) — A senior got her wish for her final year competing in the tractor category of the Ag Mechanics competition doing something big – Restoring a 75-year-old military edition tractor.

As people walked around in the First Financial Pavilion admiring the craftsmanship of young men and women across the state of Texas, one might have caught the glimpse of a tractor that stood out from the rest surrounding it. Along the wall of the arena where the stands meet the arena floor, an olive green tractor sat. Onlookers could see ‘USAAF’ written in white along the side of the tractor with a white star and a flag had been folded and placed with care on the seat of the tractor.

This unique tractor was brought to the San Angelo Stock Show Ag Mechanics Competition by Katy Wolf from Windthorst High School, who made the four-hour drive through some icy conditions.

“The ice made it a little more difficult but this is my favorite show so I definitely wanted to come,” Wolf told Concho Valley Homepage. Wolf continued by sharing that she typically attends three or four shows a year depending on her success that year.

Wolf began her journey with Ag Mechanics by welding in her early years of high school.

“I’ve always loved old farm equipment and then I decided ‘well, I think I can do this’ so I built a tractor last year and this is my senior year project” Wolf explained while smiling and gesturing to her historic project.

Green 1948 J.I. Case V.A.I. military edition tractor with a white star on the side and a folded flag sitting in the seat. Photograph by Ashtin Wade

After picking up her tractor and doing some research, Wolf found that some things just were not adding up. Wolf realized, “I have a different front end than a V.A. normally does.”

This realization led to Wolf calling the J.I. Case Archives in Wisconsin to have some numbers run in order to find out exactly what she was getting into.

Katy Wolf smiling for a picture next to the 1948 J.I. Case VAI military edition tractor that she presented at the 2023 San Angelo Stock Show Ag Mechanics Competition. The tractor is a military green color. Wolf has long blonde, wavy hair that cascades over her gray vest that covers a blue long sleeve shirt.
Katy Wolf standing next to her 1948 J.I. Case VAI Military Edition Tractor. Photograph by Ashtin Wade

Within two days Wolf received a call back from the archives. Wolf recalled a helpful voice on the other end of the phone telling her, ‘I have a treat for you.’ A lady at the J.I. Case Archives explained to Wolf that the ‘I’ in V.A.I. stood for industrial. These industrial tractors were sold to the county, state or military.

“We believe you have a military tractor,” Wolf was told.

With the exciting thought of having a tractor full of history, Wolf decided to start sanding down the orange that was painted on the industrial machine that day. To her surprise, a shade of green would soon be peering through as the orange was stripped away.

“It just confirmed to me that the tractor was military,” Wold explained after seeing the original color of the machine.

With the confirmation of the tractor’s past, Wolf started doing what she needed to in order to prepare for the stock shows she would be competing in this year.

“I always told Dad that my senior year I wanted to do something big and here it was,” Wolf said.