Red Power Round Up Features International Harvester

Red Power Round Up celebrates International Harvester with comprehensive museum display.


| September 2014



1953 Farmall Club

A 1953 Farmall Cub restored by Larry Matalas, Kenosha, Wis., was a people magnet at the RPRU. Over the course of 20 years, Larry has draped the tractor in stainless steel bling. A machinist, Larry made or repurposed all of the tractor's unique additions, from the distributor base to the dual exhaust and carburetor to the air cleaner (recycled dog dish) to the fan assembly and air cleaner.

Photo by Leslie C. McManus

In the old iron hobby, the Red Power Round Up is known for being the biggest traveling show in the U.S. The 2014 show, held in Huron, South Dakota, added an asterisk to that record when South Dakota Chapter 21 unveiled what was surely the biggest temporary museum ever.

Occupying a 96,000-square-foot cattle pavilion at the South Dakota State Fairgrounds, the museum did banner business … for about 72 hours. “We moved in the first tractor Sunday afternoon (before the show opened on Thursday),” says Show Chairman Steve Masat, Redfield, South Dakota, “and we finished putting it together three days later. Nothing like this has been done before, and we did it here, in South Dakota.”

Displays in the museum — tractors, implements, equipment and much more — showcased the evolution of International Harvester landmarks of the past century. A smaller but equally beefy exhibit in the same building presented six decades of dealership displays from the early 1900s through the 1960s. It was, as one visitor noted, like visiting a Smithsonian museum.

“We had a lot of help from a lot of people,” says Howard Raymond, Wellfleet, Nebraska, who chaired the undertaking. “But when some of the things that had been promised didn’t show up, we went out to the tractor display area and started ‘shopping.’”

Because of the museum’s artful yet compact layout, those who agreed to contribute an item to the display gave up the opportunity to participate in the daily parade at the Round Up: Once a piece was placed, removing it — even for a short time — would have been highly problematic. But 99 percent of those asked didn’t hesitate before agreeing, Steve says. “Several said they were honored to be invited,” he says.

Reaper was the key

“We wanted to tell the history of this company,” Howard says, “and show the diversity of the products International Harvester produced. But we also wanted to highlight the innovative ideas that came out of International Harvester.