Classic Tractor Fever?

Find the cure for classic tractor fever at the Classic Tractor Calendar Club reunion in Boonville, Mo.
Leslie C. McDaniel
July 1999
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A 1916 Emerson-Brantingham L owned by Dennis and Susan Black, who plan to travel from their home in Montana to attend the reunion. Tractors at the Classic Farm Tractor Calendar Club reunion will be lined up differently than what is done at most shows: They'll be set off by gold ropes, and parallel parked for better viewing. "It should make for some good photo opportunities," says John Harvey.
Photo reprinted courtesy of the Classic Farm Tractor Calendar
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Suffering from tractor fever? You just might find the cure in Boonville, Mo., this September, when dozens of world class antique tractors will be on display at one time. 

A 10-year reunion of the Classic Tractor Calendar Club will be a special feature of the Missouri River Valley Steam Engine Association's 36th annual show in Boonville Sept. 9-12.

The calendar club and the Classic Farm Tractors calendar are the creation of John Harvey, a Missouri native now living in Delaware. The full-color wall calendar – the first of its kind – features a different classic restored tractor each month.

"It is the original," John says. "I created it while the public relations director for DuPont Ag Products to promote Classic soybean herbicide. New technology has practically placed the chemical on the shelf, but the tractor calendar just keeps going, and going, and going ..."

Early this fall, it'll go to Boonville, where the 2000 calendar ("The American Tractor: Century of Success") will make its debut against a backdrop of more than 60 of the classics featured in the past decade.

"Three years ago we started talking about the possibility of getting everybody together, to end the century, if you will," says Lee Schmidt, reunion coordinator. "At this point, 62 have committed to try to be there. We already have people coming from Montana, Florida, Colorado, Canada, Ohio, Illinois, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Texas. And there will be several from the East Coast coming with their tractors. It will be the largest gathering of world famous tractors in history."

The owner of each tractor featured on the calendar is a member of the Classic Tractor Calendar Club. Later, John also started the Classic Tractor Fever Club for other interested collectors. "There's just a lot of people who are interested in antique tractors," Lee says. "You never know, on something like this, what will happen. But everywhere we go, people are talking about this show. Usually, a show will feature just one brand. Something like this has never been done."

But clearly, it's time has come. Enthusiasm for vintage tractors has never been stronger.

"Interest in collecting and restoring old tractors is at a fever pitch," John says.

Every calendar club alum at the reunion will look like it just left the factory.

"These are some of the best restored tractors in the country ... make that the world," John says. "Many of these tractors are very rare, in addition to being beautifully restored. It's really going to be an extraordinary event."

Among the classics on tap for the reunion: a 1918 Wisconsin, 1921 Samson Iron Horse, 1919 Avery 14-28, 1930 Allis Chalmers U, 1937 Case CC Special, 1937 Fordson N, 1938 Massey-Harris Challenger, 1939 Farmall F14, 1939 Minneapolis-Moline R, 1953 Oliver 99, 1957 Cockshutt Golden Arrow, 1958 John Deere 620 Orchard LP ("This is a Deere that'll bring oohs and ahhhs from even the most fervent Farmall fan," John says. "It's a showstopper.")

A unique feature of the reunion is that the tractors to be featured in the 2001 Classic Farm Tractor Calendar (and other future editions) will be selected from all exhibitors at the Boonville reunion.

"That's an incentive for the average guy on the street to bring his tractor in, and have it considered for the calendar," Lee says.

Other special events planned in connection with the reunion include a parade Saturday, a souvenir postal cancellation and belt buckles (with special sets auctioned during the reunion), display of flags from exhibitors' home states and provinces, display of the only truck ever featured on the calendar, and a display of hand-built replica models built by members' families. (The postal cancellation, which features an antique tractor, will be available Sept. 11 only at a U.S. Postal Service station operating at the reunion's feature tent.)

Also on tap: a book signing by Ralph Sanders, Classic Farm Tractor Calendar photographer, and tractor restoration clinics conducted by well-known experts Jeff Gravert and Richard Bockwoldt.

"We have some of the best talent in the nation," Lee says. "They can cover any facet of restoration you could dream of. They've done it all – paint, engine work, carbs, mags."

And there'll be a "Wall of Fame" on display in a tent, showing every tractor featured on the calendar.

"Even if every tractor from the calendars isn't present," Lee says, "you can still see them all."

If all that doesn't keep you busy, the Missouri River Valley Steam Engine Association's show will.

"The steam engine show itself is quite an event," says Lee. "We typically have something like 300 old tractors and a dozen steam engines." Also on the show lineup: vintage cars, threshers, balers, pulls (including the 8th annual MRVSEA Mid-West National championship tractor pulls), horse farming, draft horse pull, 12 horse power sweep, saw milling, wood splitting, rock crushing, plowing, gas engines and engine museum, contests, parades, crafts, horseshoe pitching, fiddler's contest, activities for children, a blacksmith shop, and live entertainment by Patty Richards.FC 

For more information: Lee Schmidt, 26113 Highway KK, California, MO 65018-3404; (573) 796-4742 after 5 p.m. 

General information on the Missouri River Valley Steam Engine Association Show visit there website at www.mrvsea.com. 

The show is located on the Brady Show Grounds, exit 111 off I-70. 


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