Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

A tractor so deere featured at historic ag show, Part II September 7, 2017

A snippet of the many vintage tractors displayed at the Rice County Steam & Gas Engines Show in rural Dundas, Minnesota.


DRIVING AWAY FROM THE RICE COUNTY Steam & Gas Engines Show, Randy and I reminisced about a long ago popular farming event in our respective rural Minnesota hometown areas. That would be John Deere Days, an annual implement dealership open house. At the ones I attended in Redwood Falls, families enjoyed a free meal of BBQs, baked beans and individual servings of ice cream eaten with mini wooden spoons from plastic cups. Funny how one recalls such details five decades later.


There were plenty of John Deere tractors on the grounds.


A vintage John Deere combine.


I found the vintage hay loader especially interesting.


I remember, too, going to the local theater afterward to watch movies about John Deere tractors and other farming equipment. To a farm girl who viewed less than a handful of big screen movies during her entire childhood, these yearly John Deere promo flicks rated as a big deal.


Not every tractor emblem at the show has been restored. I like the ones that bear the marks of hard use on the farm.


But before the film reel rolled, several lucky attendees won door prizes. Like silver dollars. Randy won a bag of seed corn. His dad, who planted the silage seed corn on his Morrison County farm, was likely more thrilled than his son about that prize.


John Deere tractors and related equipment got front row display space.


So what prompted our memories of John Deere Days after attending the recent historic ag show in rural Dundas? It was this year’s selection of the John Deere as the honored tractor line. I hold a fondness for The Long Green Line that traces back to my dad’s John Deere. There’s a certain comfort in the auditory memories of putt-putt-putt. Anything that specifically reminds me of my nearly 18 years on a southwestern Minnesota dairy and crop farm—and that would be John Deeres—yields sweet thoughts.


Identifying words on the side of a John Deere tractor at the Dundas show.


I really should tour the John Deere Tractor & Engine Museum in Waterloo, Iowa.


My dad owned a later model Ford, unlike these earlier Ford tractors.


Unlike my great nephew Landon who, at age four, is loyal solely to John Deere, I am not. My dad also owned Farmalls, Internationals and Fords. He, however, only ever allowed me to drive the B Farmall.


A leaping deer has long been John Deere’s iconic symbol.


Nothing runs like a Deere. That catchy coined phrase endures still as do the signature green and yellow and leaping deer symbols of this implement company. I appreciate those long-lasting recognizable tags that trace to my rural roots and remind me of my youth on a Minnesota farm.


Do you, like me, have sweet memories of a John Deere tractor?


TELL ME: Do you have memories of events like John Deere Days? Or do you hold a fondness for a particular tractor line? I’d love to hear.

© Copyright 2017 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


16 Responses to “A tractor so deere featured at historic ag show, Part II”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    Lucky Randy for his “win”. 🙂 I tend to like the International tractors for some reason. 🙂

  2. Joyce in Kansas Says:

    Haven’t thought about John Deere Days in a long time! It was a treat just being in the movie theater and living on a farm the “show” was interesting enough. Never won any of the prizes. Thanks for bringing back those memories

  3. Littlesundog Says:

    My grandparents were John Deere and IH Case people… my brother still has several of the older models stored in the quonset. I love touring the antique tractor shows. They bring back a lot of memories.

  4. Audrey — An invitation to Hanley Falls – Please mark your 2018 calendar for our Threshing Show next August 4 & 5 featuring John Deere tractors and gas engines — we even have a Farmall B that you could drive in our parade! How fun would that be!

  5. Valerie Says:

    Farmall, International Harvester and Ford are the tractors from my husband’s childhood. I remember banter between him and others who were John Deere fans. Fun memories.

  6. Don Says:

    I have a good friend here in Fairbanks that flies medevac Lear jets but to get to work many times he drives his 1956 John Deere tractor! He was raised on a farm in Iowa and misses it very much therefore he drives a tractor. Must say he does get some strange looks on the road…………………….

  7. Great Pictures! My Step Dad has a few Allis Chalmers!

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