WELLINGTON, Ohio — Forget green and yellow. Eighteen-year-old Sami Grills has a Deere of a different color.
Grills painted her 1946 John Deere B solid pink — a contrast to the traditional green and yellow Deere tractors her three brothers have restored.
But it’s not just the color that made her tractor a must-see at the 2010 Lorain County Fair. It’s also a sentimental tribute to her father, Scott Grills, who died in February of brain cancer.
Scott Grills loved his antique tractors and helping his children work on them. He helped his daughter get started on her own project, but it would be up to family friend Scott Miller of Wakeman, to help Sami see the project through.
Scott’s son, Joel, also helped with the project. He is Sami’s boyfriend and restored an older, unstyled John Deere B himself.
The family completed the project in about 10 months, and plans to also display it at the LaGrange Steam Engine Show, Sept. 17-19, where Sami’s dad was heavily involved.
Scott Miller said he didn’t have a lot of experience with restorations. Instead, he and the others learned as they went, making it a “team project.”
The tractor was completely disassembled for cleaning, sanding and repair. Some parts were replaced and all were given a thorough inspection.
“When they were working, the ends of their fingers were all gone from the sanding and everything,” Scott Miller said. “They did a lot of work, they should be real proud.”
Grills graduated this year and was a member of Firelands FFA. Her project was one of the biggest draws at this year’s fair, as crowds of spectators looked over an extensive display of before and after pictures.
She was awarded grand champion for the FFA Engineering Project, and took first place in medium restorations.
Her mother, Rebecca Grills, said Sami’s friends were a little skeptical at first, particularly about the color.
“Ever since she was little, she said she was going to paint her tractor pink,” Rebecca Grills said. “I don’t think they believed her when she said she was going to do it.”
Job well done. Pink or green, it’s clear the tractor was restored with a lot of hard work and attention to detail.
The new tires could one day prove useful in an antique tractor pull, Scott Miller said. But that depends on Sami’s decision, and whether she’s up for the sled.
“We’re planning for her to pull it, but we don’t know that she’s on the same page with us,” he said.