Rice Field Special

100 HP plus tractors

Content Tools

RR 1, Ashton, IA 51232

As a child I remember seeing the old Standard Tread out in our neighbor's field. I remember the old bachelor who owned it. He was a kind man at peace with the world, who didn't seem to care that the rest of the country was farming with 100 HP plus tractors and buying every square foot of land just to farm a little more!

How the tractor came to be in this part of the Corn Belt remains a mystery to me. The old fellow (Joe Mulhern was his name) bought it to replace his aging M Farmall which he farmed his quarter section with.

As I grew older I always found myself staring at this unusual IH tractor when ever it was in the field. I guess it was just an unusual tractor in this area. Most of what you saw were row crop tractors of various makes. Then one day old Joe passed away about five years ago.

A year passed, maybe two, then came the estate auction. I often thought that I should try to buy that old tractor and keep it as a reminder of old Joe and to keep a handle on my memories of the past.

Auction day came. I was full of anticipation, waiting for my chance to bid on that big outfit. The tension builds as you stand there looking at it and wondering if all those other guys want it to add to their own collections.

Finally the auctioneer got to the tractor and started out taking bids. I jumped in with both feet and started to bid hoping like (you-know-where) that I would get it. Fate was with me that day because when he said 'SOLD' he was looking right at me! Boy, what a feeling! I later found out there were half a dozen tractor collectors there bidding on it, and I still got it!

The tractor, which was mislabeled W-9 was really a WR-9 Rice Field Special! This tractor was built by IHC in the 40's and 50's for work in the rice fields. It is equipped differently from the Standard Tread W-9. It has an over center hand clutch, a foot decelerator pedal, and full coverage fenders. It also is supposed to have rice tires on it, but mine does not. I put on a new M & W governor, then I had it sandblasted and professionally painted by Art Vanderpol of Sheldon, Iowa.

The decal set for this tractor is next to impossible to find so my wife Chris and I drew and cut stencils for it by looking at the one in C. H. Wendel's 150 Years of International Harvester. I am extremely proud of this tractor and have had it in the Remsen, Iowa Centennial parade, the Sibley, Iowa Tractor Pull, and next year I hope to take it to some area shows! I have several other tractors now in my collection, but this will always be my favorite.