The folks who live on this west-central Pennsylvania hill call it paradise. In fact, it's locally known as the Paradise section of Jefferson County, even though the nearest town is Sykesville and not Paradise, Pa. Most locals live on the land their forefathers settled as far back as six generations ago. Some still farm, but many are engaged in other work.
In the center of Paradise sits the hill first settled by John Pifer in 1848. Five generations later, descendant Lois Pifer, and her farm tenant, Fred Reed, invited the Past to Present Machinery Association to use her ancestral farm in the heart of Paradise for the association's second annual plow day, held April 27. Organized by 53 local residents in 2001 to celebrate old machines and bring people together, the PPMA's charter is based on fellowship instead of competition and is open to all who love old farm equipment. To make the second plow day special, the PPMA invited an online tractor community, the International Harvester Cub Cadet Registry organization, or IHR, to share a weekend in Paradise. The club accepted the offer and sponsored its first ever Cub Cadet plow day and tractor pull on April 26.
The Cub Cadet Registry is the brainchild of Mark Bowersox of Lewisburg, Pa. He developed the online resource for vintage IH Cub Cadet enthusiasts, which allows Cadet owners to register serial numbers, access production data and maintenance information, and offer support with restoring, using and collecting the little tractors. As with the PPMA, the registry is based on sharing and caring, not on competition. Although the Web site is a 'dot com,' Mark accepts no money from members or sponsors. Some members of the PPMA are also members of the IHR, and since they're both forged from the sturdy steel of old-iron friendship, it was natural for them to share the weekend on Lois's Paradise hill.
The fun began at 9 a.m. when Steve Spencer from Gillespie, Ill., won rights to cut the first furrow. Steve and his friend Rick Porter brought a pair of Model 782 Cub Cadets from Illinois. The ground contained quite a bit of shale, but within a few hours Cub Cadets sporting Brinley single-bottom plows from Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, California and Ottawa, Canada, turned about 8 acres of corn stubble.
The plowing was finished by mid-afternoon, so Scott Cross, Todd Markle and Rudy Oblak disked and graded a pulling track at one end of the field using their Cub Cadets. Ted Rake, president of the PPMA, kindly rolled the track with his Super A Farmall and homemade roller. Cub Cadet, Speedex and John Deere operators lined up well into the evening to drag the pull sled. Chris Westfall even brought his 'White Buffalo' 19-plus-hp Cub Cadet Model 102 puller and let many folks take the wheel. No prizes were awarded, but everyone had their fill of fun and friendly banter. More than 50 total Cub Cadets were in attendance, and more than half of those showed their plowing or pulling prowess.