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2011 Half Century of Progress Show

big blue 
Jon Kinzenbaw's "Double Trouble" tractor, also known as "Big Blue." 

Officials of the nation’s largest working vintage farm equipment show, the Half Century of Progress Show, have unveiled plans for their exhibition to be held in Central Illinois later this year. The big attraction for the 2011 show is Jon Kinzenbaw’s “Double Trouble” tractor. This beast is a twin engine 640 hp machine. Sherry Schaefer, editor of Heritage Iron Magazine, states, "At every Half Century event, the committee sets the bar a little higher when it comes to the main attraction.  They did not back off this year when they set out to showcase Kinze's rarely seen Double Trouble tractor. I can't wait for this one!"

The 2011 Half Century of Progress Show is a biennial event that was started in 2003 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Farm Progress Show. It has evolved into one of the largest exhibits of vintage farm equipment in the world. The show takes place at the National Aviation Center in Rantoul, IL where there is ample space for parking, vendors, displays, and demonstrations.  It is the largest “working” show in the country. "It is one of the highlights of my passionate desire to be near collectors and all the tractors I love so much. They bring back memories of my childhood,” reminisces Rodney K. Miller, Assistant to the Dean and Director of the Office of Advancement and External Affairs in the College of AG at the University of Georgia.

Every year boasts one major attraction. In 2009, Big Bud made an appearance and worked in the field. Big Bud is the largest farm tractor in the world and the event provided a once in a lifetime opportunity for most of the visitors to see it up close and in action. The 2011 feature is a unique, one-of-a kind custom-built tractor consisting of two JD 5020 chassis. Kinzenbaw, CEO of Kinze Manufacturing, built Double Trouble, also known as “Big Blue,” to demonstrate the new DMI Hydra-Wide plow at the 1974 Farm Progress Show near Fort Dodge, IA.  The tractor is powered by two 8-71 Detroit Diesel engines with each engine controlling an axle independently.  Weighing in at twenty tons, the tractor was designed for the testing of DMI’s large implements. In 1988, “Blue” was used for a field demonstration in Amana, Iowa but has not been back out in public since. Kinzenbaw looks forward to bringing the tractor out of retirement. Even with today’s improved technology and standards, this tractor is still considered a force to be reckoned with.  In the words of Kinzenbaw, “When in doubt, build it stout.”

Each year the show swells bigger with more visitors and machinery. In 2009, the turnout consisted of over 100,000 people. In addition to the plethora of spectators, several large companies participate by sponsoring the show. These companies include Cub Cadet, McCormick Tractor, FS, Heritage Iron Magazine and Toyota Tundra. "I am so thankful to I & I and all the folks that put in so much effort, they truly make a difference for the memory of a great time in agriculture," states Miller.

The Show will be held from August 25-28th, 2011. For show information, visit the website at, email, or call 217-595-5000.