Memories of an International Harvester Dealership

International Harvester dealers recall memories at the Red Power Round Up.

| September 2014

  • Wally Scott (front) with three of his children and a grandson during a reunion of International dealers and sales reps. Left to right: Bob Scott, Chris Scott, Mary Ellen Scott and John Scott.
    Photo by Leslie C. McManus

Born in 1915, the same year his father bought an International Harvester Co. dealership in Mt. Vernon, South Dakota, Wally Scott does not remember a time when he didn’t work at the dealership. “I was there from the time I was knee-high to a grasshopper,” he says.

So he was in good company at a reunion of South Dakota International Harvester dealers and sales reps held in conjunction with the Red Power Round Up (RPRU) in Huron in June. “It was the first reunion of dealers and reps here in 25 years,” Show Chairman Steve Masat says, “and the first time a reunion was held as part of a Round Up.”

At 99, Wally was the dean of the group. Born just 13 years after International was formed, he has seen almost unimaginable change in the industry. “There’s been a lot of positives and negatives over the years,” he admits, “but there’s always been more positives.”

Lewis E. Scott was just 25 when he purchased Helgerson Implement Co. in Mt. Vernon in 1915. As World War I ended, the farm economy went into a nose dive. “People had borrowed too much,” Wally says. “Then Dad got a call from the depot that a carload of 21 or 22 Titan tractors had arrived. But he hadn’t ordered those tractors. So he called the district manager to ask what to do. He told Dad to unload the tractors and said, ‘Don’t worry; I’ll take care of it.’”

Six months later, with the tractors still sitting in limbo, invoices from the parent company began to accumulate. Lewis gassed up the Buick and drove to Sioux Falls to meet face to face with the district manager. Decades later, details of the meeting are as clear in Wally’s mind as the first time his father spoke of them.

“You told me you’d take care of this,” Lewis said to the man. “Yes,” the district manager said, “that’s what I told everybody. But they’re yours. You’d better pay for them.”


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