Shades of Green


| November 2004



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Model 60 Row Crop tractor

A patch of gently rolling prairie west of Madison, S.D. turned unseasonably green this past August -Oliver and Hart-Parr green, that is. Historic Prairie Village played host to the 14th Annual National Summer Show of the Hart-Parr Oliver Collectors Association (HPOCA) at their park on the shores of Lake Herman. The Aug. 27-29 event drew Hart-Parr and Oliver enthusiasts from around the country, and Canada, and included a fine display of tractors, equipment and memorabilia.

'We made the proposal to the national board and met all of their criteria about three years ago, but that's when the hard work began,' says Leroy Hardick of Sioux Falls, S.D., president of the Great Plains Oliver Collectors Chapter of the HPOCA, explaining how the show arrived at Prairie Village. 'I think the hardest part was getting all of the volunteers lined up.'

Club volunteer Lowell Herlyn reports that more than 300 pieces of Oliver and Hart-Parr equipment were at the show, with thousands of additional pieces of memorabilia and toys on display. Past president of the Great Plains Chapter of the HPOCA Ken Steinberg, Colton, S.D., noted that the show would have been even larger if the 80-plus volunteers had been able to set up their own exhibits. 'The only downside to hosting the show is that most of us don't have the chance to exhibit,' Ken says.

Club members Gary and Jackie Copperstone of Gayville, S.D., didn't let volunteer duties deter them from bringing along their Oliver 770 and plow. 'Since the show is featuring the Oliver 770 and the plow, we decided to kill two birds with one stone,' Gary explains as he wipes some dust off the family's beautifully restored 1958 Oliver 770 row crop tractor - attached to a Model 5440 Oliver semi-mounted plow.

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Oliver's Model 770 tractor was produced from 1958 to 1967 in a number of different configurations, most of which were seen on the grounds at Prairie Village. For example, 770 row crop tractors with gasoline, LP-gas, or diesel fueled engines, and narrow- or wide-front axles were all well represented. Likewise, the Standard or Wheatland versions of the 770 with their lower stance, and non-adjustable, wide-front axle were out in force as well. Among the scores of 770 tractors on display, Gibbon, Minn., resident Dalmar Ranweiler's 1961 Model 770 Industrial was a real show-stopper with its beefy front axle, truck-type front tires, industrial rear tires and brilliant orange paint.

Some 770 tractors were displayed with semi-mounted Oliver plows, but plows weren't only associated with those tractors. When considering that the Oliver Chilled Plow Works shipped more than 60,000 plows a year by the late 1870s, and that various iterations of the Oliver plow were sold for at least the next century, it would take many more acres than are available at Prairie Village to accommodate all of the different models. However, the show attracted a nice representation of walking plows and tractor-drawn plows of virtually every vintage.