Garden Tractors: A Growing Hobby

Midwest Old Threshers garden tractor area invites participation from all.

| July 2014

What does it take to collect antique tractors? Some would say heaps of money, ample storage space and a hefty trailer — but not the pioneers of the garden tractor area at the annual Midwest Old Threshers Reunion in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. According to the area’s director, Alan Buckert, those things have scarcely factored into the increasing popularity of antique lawn and garden tractors.

“So many people are already involved with garden tractors,” Alan says. “You can buy a garden tractor for a more reasonable price than you can a large tractor, and they don’t take up much room to store. A lot of collectors will pick a brand that’s important to them or their family, like John Deere, Cub Cadet, Allis-Chalmers or Case. There are lots of different brands to collect.”

It was Alan who first thought of creating the show’s garden tractor area. In the half-decade it’s been part of Old Threshers, it’s grown from three lonely garden tractors to more than 200 at the 2013 reunion.

A place for growing families

Years ago, Alan and his friends were discussing ways to get young people interested in antique tractors and collecting in general. Many of the tractor collectors at Old Threshers, including Alan, had children who weren’t old enough to drive the bigger tractors. Alan knew the garden tractor area would allow his son Austin and nephews to get involved collecting tractors they could actually drive.

Alan was brought up in a family that loves collecting. His parents, Fred and Ruth Buckert, Hamilton, Ill., and older brothers Kenny and Danny are also involved in the hobby. Fred even helped start Western Illinois Threshers in his hometown of Hamilton.

“It’s been in our blood forever and we enjoy anything related to agricultural equipment,” Alan says. “We’ve got a lot of tractors and cars, but the garden tractors have enabled us to take it in a new direction.”