| March/April 1988

23282 U.S. Highway.85, Newcastle, Wyoming 82701.

Don Ottema Collects

Don Ottema recalls vividly the day his love affair with antique tractors began in 1978. 'In the local paper, they had this Coates estate sale, and this 1927 McCormick-Deering was for sale. They showed a picture of it. I told Anita, (his wife), 'Ma, give me a checkblank because I'm going to buy it'. Before the day was out, we bought two of them. Buck (his son) bought the '28 ,' he says. Since that fateful day Anita has watched her yard fill with some thirty tractors and Buck has traveled the countryside to buy them.

The '27 which started it all is being worked on now and Ottema plans to leave it on steel wheels. 'Strictly for show,' he says. Five others though have been completed. 'I wanted that iron-wheeled tractor to make sure that your great-great-great grandchildren would enjoy it. It's something I wanted to restore. Keep it as a unit so everybody and their puppy can come out here and look at it. I wanted to salvage one,' Ottema says.

Ottema worked a year on the '28 McCormick-Deering Buck purchased. In the shop at Cambria Forest Industries in Newcastle, Wyoming where he worked as a mechanic, he stripped it down, resealed, and painted it. His boss, he says, was understanding. Ottema paid $225.00 for the '28 and has invested about $450.00 more in it, but it runs and it's a beauty.

Since then, he has restored a 1930 Model L Case, a 1929 1020 McCormick-Deering, a 1938 CC Case, a '37 or '38 Minneapolis-Moline, and a 1948 Oliver. The Oliver was given to him by George Moorman of Stanton, North Dakota who bought the tractor new for $2,750.00. Moorman refused to take payment from Ottema. 'It kind of made his day that it was going to be brought back to life,' says Ottema who promised to bring the Oliver to Stanton in 1989 so Moorman can drive in the centennial celebration.

Ottema estimates that it takes two tractors to have enough parts to restore one. The least he has paid for a tractor is $50.00 and the most is the $700.00 he paid for the 1930 Model L Case. The Case is his pride and joy. Painted a silver-gray, it rumbles across the pasture, sunlight streaming through the windows on its Case-built cab.