Belmond, IA Tractor Show
The official title of this show is “Prairie Homestead Antique Power and Country Craft Show” and it was held at the Jenison – Meacham Memorial Art Center and Farmstead north of Belmond, IA. Now that is a real mouthful so instead we think of it as the tractor show. But if that is all it was it would hardly be worth the time to record on our travel page since we reserved this page for trips that take us away from home. I guess the reason we are recording it here is that although we traveled about 40 miles to get here, the lifestyle we saw depicted was as much as a hundred years away from where we are today.
This was our first time visiting a show like this and honestly did not know what to expect. I knew there would be tractors at the show because a friend at work was displaying his restored Farmall tractor here. He told me a little about the event but we were shocked at the size and scope of the show in that we have not heard reports about the show on any of the local media. We will start our pictures with some of the field demonstrations that were just getting started as we arrived. As the picture above and below show, this is a live show of machinery that can still produce a day’s work, even though modern methods have made this equipment obsolete. The oat threshing, although modern compared to the old hand methods prior to the mechanized farming era, required a lot of manual labor. Workers can be seen pitching shocks of oats onto the conveyor to have the grain separated from the straw. The straw is being bailed using a more modern bailer with a tractor providing power.
The antique tractor show provided a wide variety of tractors ranging from very old steam powered equipment, to lug wheeled units, and many styles and brand names that we recognized. This Case 400 was so strange looking that I had to take its picture. We couldn’t find anyone around to ask about the design so will leave you to try to decide about its function, we are assuming it had something to do with higher ground clearance. We found tractors in this display all the way from fully restored to those that were in such poor repair that we wondered if they could be restored. This Case is a perfect example of a quality restoration with close attention to detail.
The next tractor had a sign that indicated the owners name and it stated “Driver’s Training”, and at the time of our visit we assumed that it was a tongue in cheek reference to the two seats on this 1940 B Farmall. In chatting with those that know more about tractors it was there guess that this “buddy seat” was added by the tractors owner, perhaps as a way of allowing a passenger for the popular “tractor ride” events that are held here in Iowa. But regardless of the story behind the seat we found it interesting and the installation of the extra seat looked very professional. We received a correction e-mail to this tractor from a freind of the owner. This 2012 e-mail indicated the owner installed the seat as part of the restoration and he does use it as a training aid when others want to learn to drive the older style tractor. As we indicated at the time we wrote this page, it is a very professional looking job of installing the seat and our compliments go out to the owner.
Among the tractors that we all grew up seeing in the fields and on the roads with their load or equipment in tow was a fair representation of tracked vehicles. I don’t think I have ever seen a Caterpillar this small but it must have been popular enough for the competitors to copy as we saw an International and McCormick setting in the same row. I couldn’t help thinking of my late Uncle Jack who spent a good portion of his career operating heavy machinery. More than likely he would have snickered at the size of these little guys. We also saw some full sized tracked vehicles but did not take pictures of them.
The next tractor belongs to one of my co-workers and represents what a fully restored tractor is all about. The owner, Gene Huber, pulled this old tractor out of his machine shed to begin the long process of acquiring parts and finding everything needed to bring it back to like new condition. Gene remembers his father purchasing the tractor and they used it for many years on their farm north of Clear Lake, Iowa. In fact Gene has shown us pictures before the restoration began and the tractor sported a home made plywood cab that allowed the operator some comfort in the winter for moving snow. This is a 1939 F20 Farmall. Gene pointed out one of the unique features of this tractor. It is a couple cables attached to the steering that tighten and apply the break to the appropriate wheel for super tight turns without clutching or braking by the operator.
I did not take pictures of all the tractors since to do so would only lead to confusion over what they were. But I did take pictures of what I considered to be unique, or at least unique from our perspective. The next tractor, another Farmall, had such a unique loader and lugged wheels that I felt it was well worth the picture. There were no details on the sign about the tractor and no one close at hand to quiz so I can only speculate about its age and original use. The loader was such a marvel that I wondered if it was home built, but upon closer inspection it seemed to have components that could only have come from a factory.
The tractor show featured two working sawmills, with this next picture showing the bigger of the two. This display included a very large mill attached to an equally large Caterpillar that provided the power through the large flat belt in the foreground of the picture. We watched as the workers completed cutting an oak log into heavy planks that were about 3” thick. The log near the workers was fed into the mechanism as we left.
There are 9 more pictures on our second page
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