8421-AE. WOO N. Road R.R. #2, Box 73 Grant Park, Illinois 60940
September 1990: Summer is winding down. After another season of walking Mother Nature's tightrope, a group of Illinois farmers get together and let out another year's worth of worry and stress with a tension-busting weekend.
For several years, the Bettenhausen farm east of Beecher, Illinois has been the site of 'Old Fashioned Plowing Days' where retired farmers came to remember what was and town folks came to see it all for the first time. The event is always popular with farmers ready to take their 'toys' out of storage and spend a day at play.
For 1990, however, Dean Bettenhausen and his friends had a different idea-a plowing weekend with two-cylinder tractors only. He and fellow two-cylinder enthusiasts Dennis Christiansen, John Hack, Gary Jurres and Bob Jurres began working the telephones. The 'Deere Hunt' began.
About 70 acres of stubble field was located. Food and comfort station arrangements were made. Everything seemed to be on schedule until a couple of weeks before the event.
A group that had earlier agreed to videotape the event, backed out at the last minute. Fame and video immortality for the participants was not to be; did they want to cancel as well? The tractor owners decided to go ahead. Finances were pooled, local camcorders were found and the green light was back on.
The tractors began arriving on Labor Day and by Thursday morning, Bettenhausen's front yard began to look like an odd sort of yard sale. By the end of the day, he had the greenest lawn in the township. But it isn't grass-it's John Deere. A seemingly endless variety of sizes and shapes, from a child's pedal tractor to a 1959 #8020, are lined up in the style of an ultimate John Deere showroom.
On September 7, D-Day (D for 'Deere'), 53 two-cylinder tractors lined up and ready to go. Among the models represented were a 1925 Spoker Flywheel D, a 1938 small radiator G, a 1937 D, a 1949 D and a Model R. The huge 1959-#8020 was a crowd pleaser. One of only 100 manufactured, it is owned by Darrel Fischer of Watseka.
One big surprise for the Illinois 'Deere-ologists' is the success of their homegrown video. More than 500 copies have been sold to date with orders coming from 37 states and three countries. Inquiries have come from as far away as Australia.