John Deere in parade

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Overland Park, Kansas 66212

My husband belonged to the Gas Engine Club for several years and had accumulated several engines when he decided he would like to have a tractor too. Due to the efforts of a friend, he was able to acquire one.

Roland Spillman is from a small town called Moran, Kansas. He has relatives and friends in that community that have been farmers all their lives and some had kept their old tractors. Roland found an old tractor in a field and arranged for my husband, Mike to buy it for only $50.00. When it arrived in our front yard, it didn't look like it was worth that much!

Harold Beach, the friend that introduced Mike to the Club, helped him bring it home, pushed it into the backyard (it wouldn't run). It was quite a thing for someone to see an old beat-up tractor in our suburban backyard.

It remained there and he managed to work on it enough the first year to get it running. Then Mike and Harold entered their old tractors and a trailer of old engines in the Overland Park Fall Parade. Since the tractors looked so run-down, they only got honorable mention that first year.

During the next year, Mike decided to restore his old 1940 John Deere completely. He took it apart, sanded and sandblasted, polished, painted and reassembled for many hours and days. He would try to protect it from the elements with a plastic canopy which was constantly falling over whenever the wind came up. Somehow he accomplished what seemed impossible and the tractor was ready in time for the next Fall parade.

Our 16-year-old daughter, Sandy, drove and Mike and our 14-year-old daughter, Sharon, rode on the back. They were entered in the Antique Car Division of the parade as there isn't any category for farm machinery in our community. That year he won a fourth place ribbon which I proudly framed for him. The next year he won a third place and the next a fourth place again. Four ribbons in all!

As an added incentive this year to keep entering the parade, the local TV station televised the parade in color, featuring the tractors and the wagon and trailer with the old engines running. It was fun to watch it all over again on television.

The John Deere now sits in the garage between parades and looks like new.