4777 Upper Valley Pike Dayton, Ohio 45424
The Minneapolis-Moline Collectors Winter Convention at Peru, Illinois, 23 February 1990, was reminiscent of the Case Winter Convention in 1988 at Burlington, Iowa, because of the big winter storm. This did not deter the diehard collectors as 100% showed for the room reservations at Days Inn. Most attendees arrived before the storm and left after the storm on Sunday.
Leaving wasn't all that easy as many of the cars needed a lot of engineering know-how to get started. Don Thoma jumped his Olds diesel from two cars simultaneously while holding a burning newspaper in the intake. Some cars needed a shot of starting fluid to offset the -14 degree chill factor. One of the men raised the hood of his pickup to see nothing but solid snow. The 50 mph blizzard packed the snow in everywhere.
Early arrivals had time to look over the beautiful display of fifty tractors at Kaiser Implement in Mendota and hobnob with Prairie Gold lovers. When Emerald Busse, the big Clydesdale breeder, was asked why he came, he said he collected old tractors too. What excuse did Doug Strawser have? He has barns full of Olivers and no MM's.
Wilbert Kerchner, for forty-one years a specialist in MM tractors at Mendota, Illinois, willingly was the host of the meeting. He had some excellent help from other Prairie Gold people in putting it all together. More tractors had been promised for the Mendota display but bad weather kept some away.
From the Kaiser buildings the people drifted over to the large Del Monte processing plant. Years ago the company farmed with hundreds of MM tractors but now the farm work is contracted with farmers in the area.
Back at the motel many were looking at displays. Dan Shima had his wonderful display of colorful publications, while Delores had tables filled with MM gift items and souvenirs. Les Wenzel had many hard-to-find parts like gauges. Bill Ellis had pictures and books of industrial vehicles in which he is interested. Many stands offered clothing, publications, parts, and toys.
Saturday was a fun-filled as well as educational time. The women were entertained by a wedding style show; the men enjoyed Clint Kenyon's seminar on tractor painting. Much time was spent on paint, colors, brands, application, thinners, fillers, decals, masking tape, etc. Some very informative suggestions were made by others attending. Oran Schmidt will give a seminar next winter meeting on magnetos.
DuPont arranged to have some outstanding examples of restoration, such as Richard Kimball's John Deere, Richard Prince's MH, and Don Kingen's MM UDLX, depicted on a calendar and wall poster. We saw a movie of these tractors with the owners telling about the tractor then starting and driving it.
Upon entering the auction room at 1 p.m., one could see Marvin Koch at the head table. It was evident everything was under control. He had beautiful ladies helping to sign items in and take care of money. Harley Stokstad took time out from milking to be there to give out bidder's numbers.
Auctioneer Darwin Croiscent kept a lively sale going until 5 p.m. Many parts and publications got into the hands of needy collectors. A lighted parts sign fetched $390, while a long wall sign with a wood frame brought $300. Someone spent a lot of time making a rural mailbox like a tractor. Very good, all metal, it went cheaply at $75.
Ray Musselman gave $25 for an empty MM 'O' ring box. Charlie Schleve held up a MM grass board which Don Kingen bought for $27.
Rudy Schmied bought a manure spreader sprocket wheel for $2 that he didn't need and never will. Jim Rowsam bought two belt pulleys for $5 each-a real steal. Sheldon Kentson bought a new carburetor for $70 to fit an MTA. Windell Kingsley's wife let him leave their display table to bid on a beautifully restored and overhauled G 900. It didn't reach the asking price of $4000,. which seemed a fair price. Later Richard Millis of Vermilion, Ohio said he was going to buy it. For the auction there were 31 consignors, 291 items and a gross of $93 70.
A big event at these winter meetings is the Saturday night banquet. George Yokiel was master of ceremonies; first to talk was President Dan Shima. The featured speaker was Dean Hedges, who was employed by MM for thirty-one years. Lenny Balcom took the podium and invited the collectors to come to Fairmont, Minnesota for a meeting. Roger Mohr then talked about his plans for the MM 125th anniversary, calling the August 2-5 show Expo 90, the greatest display of MM equipment ever assembled. So far, equipment is coming from eleven states. People bringing equipment should write ahead for free passes and details. Participants will get special awards.
The oldest tractor puller in the world attended the banquet and was given special recognition. Bill Newlon, 81 years old, has been very successful with his Minneapolis-Moline Allison, which was on display.
Fred Buckert and Larry Holmes said, as did most of the others, they love all makes of tractors and will attend the Case meeting next month.
As I see it, democracy is coming to all parts of the world. People on TV are joyous and have smiles on their faces. Be considerate and enjoy the life you have. I've never seen people live as good, and old tractors and engines are going up in price every year.