8421-AE. WOO N. Road R.R. #2, Box 73 Grant Park, Illinois
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
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.