In 1997 agricultural engineering graduate students at the University of Wisconsin - Madison designed and built a quarter scale pulling tractor. They presented the idea to ASAE (the American Society of Agricultural Engineers) that students would design and build a prototype quarter scale pulling tractor to compete with other schools around North America.
In 1998 the first national competition was held in Moline, Il, and included 17 tractors from 17 different universities. The compeition has continued to increase in size and now includes between 25 and 30 teams competing each year.
The 2002 competition marked a major milestone for ASAE Quarter Scale Tracors; The rules of the competition were significantly modified for the first time since the competition's inception to allow four-wheel drive. Previously only two-wheel drive tracctors had been permitted.
Minor rule changes are made each year, to encourage teams to continue to use innovative new designs, instead of using a "cookie-cutter" design every year. In 2003 centrifugal CVTs (continuously variable transmissions) were outlawed. The 2005 competition marked the beginning of noise restrictions for the tractors. A major rule change for the 2006 competition allowed the use of multiple engines, only limited by tractor weight.