Rice Field Special

By Staff
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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

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

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

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