Nebraska’s Deer Creek Sodbusters a Local Legacy

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Henry Hauptmeier, Sterling, Neb., and his 1937 Oliver Model 70 in the Deer Creek Sodbusters parade in August.
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Binding corn at the Deer Creek show. In honor of the show's inclusion in the national Local Legacy program, Nebraska Governor Mike Johanns proclaimed Aug. 8 as "Deer Creek Sodbusters Day."

A chapter of America’s farm heritage will be preserved for future generations through a partnership between the Library of Congress and a Nebraska antique machinery show.

The annual Deer Creek Sodbusters Antique Machinery Show at Sterling, Neb., is one of just five events in Nebraska’s first congressional district to be named a “Local Legacy.”

The designation is part of the Bicentennial Celebration of the Library of Congress. Through the project, the library documents grassroots culture and heritage of all parts of the U.S. Documentation – including articles and essays, descriptive and/or historical background, photographs, audio/video tape, news clippings and other memorabilia – gathered through the Local Legacy program will be preserved in the Library of Congress. Some of that material also will be available on the Library’s website.

The Local Legacy designation is conferred upon traditional events or celebrations exemplifying area culture and history.

“We were thrilled to have been selected, and are proud to participate in this program because from the start, the mission of our show has been to preserve the history of southeastern Nebraska, which of course is agriculture,” said Robert Wolff. Wolff has a vested interest in the event: He and his brother, John, organized the Wolff Brothers Plowing Bee in the 1980s. That event ultimately evolved into the Deer Creek Sodbusters show.

Today, the annual Deer Creek show includes demonstrations, crafts and flea market, and entertainment. A plowing demonstration featuring antique tractors is one of the show’s biggest draws. At the 1999 show, all of that activity was captured in photographs, video footage and written accounts.

It’s important for communities to record such events, Wolff said.

“As we face a new century and a new millennium, fewer and fewer families are able to survive on the farm, and still fewer young people are able to start a career at farming the family farm,” he said. “Unless this trend is reversed, the family farming operation could be forced to give way to large corporations taking over agriculture. If that happens, an important part of our country’s heritage could be lost forever, unless it is preserved by events such as ours and by such programs as the Library of Congress’s Local Legacies project.” FC

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
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