4777 Upper Valley Pike, Dayton, Ohio 45424
A large group of enthusiastic Case Equipment Collectors from all over the U.S. and Canada gathered at the Holiday Motel in Burlington, Iowa, on the weekend of March 5, 1988. The club members were to be the guests of the Case Company at the backhoe factory.
Some of the collectors, who were eager to see old friends and to meet new acquaintances, arrived on Wednesday. Warren and Shirley Kemper and Mark and Melinda Kemper were grateful for any help with the pre-arrangements. The Kempers, who were taking time away from their large pig operation, were fine hosts and hostesses.
These engine and machinery collector clubs prefer to have meetings and get-togethers where most of the members can be accommodated. Having the meetings in the Midwest where most of the collectors are seems to be a good idea.
Some collectors drove Thursday to Wapello, Iowa to the home of Gary Spitznogle. This extensive collection of beautifully restored Hart-Parr tractors was quite impressive. From here, the group moved to the home of a neighbor who collected crawler tractors. Then it was on down the road to Kempers where the visitors went from building to building looking at the many pieces of Case equipment. Warren's hogs will not get their full measure of attention when he begins the restoration of the Case VO and VI he recently brought home. After all this looking it was into Shirley Kemper's domain for refreshments and later dinner.
The Holiday dining room was full early Friday morning as people had been arriving all night. The blizzard and ice storm covered a large area east and south of Peoria, but this didn't turn people back-just slowed them down. Bill Sheard and Dave Erb from southern Ohio told about the problems they had getting there. Eldon Wilson who came 1200 miles from Glenbain, Canada, didn't have any problems. Ed Axhelm was easy o identify in his bright orange Case shirt and cap. Ed was breakfasting with Ed Evans who came with him from Ohio.
The Holiday Motel allowed the club to use a large conference room as a display and hospitality room. With all of the hand shaking and talking in the hospitality room, it was not long before it was time to go to the Case backhoe plant. The many cars were parked near the plant entrance. The necessary safety glasses were issued to us as we passed through security. In the gathering room we were welcomed by Mr. Berry Eller, the plant manager, who introduced John Slocum and other senior staff members who were to be our guides. Mr. Eller gave a brief history of their operation stating that Hilton Long was the father of the backhoe developed in Burlington. Mr. Eller told us that Case was the world's largest manufacturer of backhoes, with plants in many countries.
The Company furnished us lunch and then we divided into groups for the plant tour. It was a wonderful experience to see man and machine in a coordinated effort working to bring thousands of pieces together into a highly efficient tool.
After the plant tour, the group had time to relax before a short trip across the Mississippi River to eat at the Riverview Supper Club in Dallas City, Illinois. We were impressed with the size of the place, and felt quite at home in the converted carriage factory which was decorated with antique farming paraphernalia. We were told that 900 people could be seated for dinner.
Saturday was another beautiful day, and everyone was in a cheery mood in anticipation of our bus trip to Mt. Pleasant. Fred Buckert, the Club's new vice-president, had arranged for us to have a private visit to Midwest Old Threshers Museum, though it was not open to the public. It was time well spent even for those who had been there many times before.
By Saturday afternoon more displays had been brought into the hospitality room by late arrivals. The auction began at 3:00, and many items were auctioned off to the lucky bidders. A nice addition to the Club's treasury came when the Case Company donated several items.
The banquet was held Saturday night in the beautiful convention room with its crystal chandeliers highlighting each person as he stood, gave his name, and hometown, then told about his hobby. Fred Buckert conducted the meeting after the banquet. A rousing ovation was given to the past president, Buz Nealeigh. The VP introduced the new treasurer, Jerry Sanders, and the new board member, Edwin Bredemeier. Finally it was time to decide the location for the National Case Collectors Club summer show in 1989. Prairie Village at Madison, Wisconsin issued an invitation for 26 and 27 of August 1989. Then Edwin Bredemeier presented an invitation from the Minden, Nebraska, Pioneer Village for 20-21 August, 1989. Case Collector Wayne Gamm invited us to his Old Threshing Show near Montgomery, Missouri, the 16th thru 18th of August, 1989. It was a difficult decision to make as all three places have so much to offer, but the decision was made to go to South Dakota.
This summer's National Case Collector's Show will be held near Kalamazoo, Michigan on Labor Day weekend. This show is well known for the many draft horse teams and equipment, the Farmer Hall of Fame and Museum, and the Ramada 500 Car Museum.
The Case Collectors from all over North America thank their hosts at the backhoe plant for a great tour and also for the crystal bowl and tray given to each family.