It started with a simple phone call, but ended with a day filled with fun. That's the way Massey Days 2004 turned out from my view as a first-timer invited to the special event held each year to celebrate the heritage and history left by Massey-Harris Co.
This year's gathering was hosted by Steve Weeber. Dedicated Farm Collector readers will recognize Steve as the hay carrier collector whose finely restored collection was featured in the May 2003 issue.
Yet, Steve's passion for old iron goes well beyond hay-moving devices. That's why he invited other Massey-Harris farm equipment collectors to convene on his 120-acre Iowa City, Iowa, farm June 11-13.
Folks came from nearly every corner of America for a chance to swap stories, see old friends and share their mutual interest in Massey-made machinery.
The event wasn't a public farm show like those held in many towns during summer months. Instead, it was a private gathering for the red-and-yellow faithful.
A family reunion feel permeated the place, with many collectors sharing friendships that stretched back to the days before Massey-Harris was purchased by Massey Ferguson.
Old to young, everyone had fun surrounded by a virtual sea of Massey farm equipment, from huge corn harvesters to tiny lawn mowers, vintage combines to antique horse-drawn plows.
Look for a full-length feature about the gathering in an upcoming Farm Collector, complete with photos of rare tractors and a fully restored Massey-Harris Model 21A combine that Steve donated to the Midwest Old Settlers and Threshers museum in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa.
When I left for home after meeting so many new friends that day, I remembered once again that it's not the machines that make the old-iron hobby thrive - it's the community.
That same community has kept Farm Collector rolling off the press each month for the last six years. That's because folks love to read about other collectors - not just their prized collections.
In fact, without the fascinating people who find and restore farm collectibles, our pages would likely be filled with nothing but rusted metal.
It's truly the people, like Steve and other folks I met at Massey Days, who keep the hobby alive and thriving.