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Contributed Article

The Old Gold National Antique Tractor Show
And 2-Cylinder Expo
by Cindy Ladage

Over the fourth of July weekend, the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Illinois, was the site of the Old Gold National Antique Tractor Show. Tractors of all makes and models were displayed and separted into categories by their age. Deere, Oliver and even a Wards and Keck Gonerman were part of the crowd. A sea of red International Harvester's seemed to be the the model with the biggest showing.

The crowd was decent for the scorching July heat. The opening day started off with hot humid weather that didn't seem to daunt the visitors that flocked to the tractors and the Orr building to view the toys, literature, memoribillia and other items for sale that the collector would find interesting. The memorabillia auction that took place included a Case clock, and a John Deere Insurance sign among many other items.

On Saturday, a tractor auction and a toy auction were part of the festivities. This year, at The Old Gold National Antique Tractor Show a record sale was set at the Toy auction. An IH-split rim 400 Farm set that included a cardboard box, and a tractor with a spreader, disc, plow, loader and wagon sold for a record breaking $13,750. Kurt Aumann, of Aumann Auctions was the the auctioneer for this record sale.

The last day of the show, dealers and collectors alike gathered up their things and headed home.

The second leg of the tractor shows for this sun drenched month included westward travel. The 2-Cylinder show in Amana, Iowa prodded my family into the vehicle. We loaded and stacked our luggage so high you couldn't see out the back window. Plans to head further north to Minnesota and the mall of America induced our 16-year-old daughter into agreeing to travel along.

This trip is like fantasy land to my husband, Keith, a John Deere collector and Amana food connoisseur. He filled 2-Cylinder novices in on the best restaurants and antique shops that the colonies have to offer. The show itself was like a buffet dinner, too many things to sample in one sitting. The exhibitors offered a lot of variety and eye-catching displays. Harlan Stoller had a crowd gathered around his demonstration of a 1/8 scale 1931 John Deere D that as his literature advertises, "It Looks, Runs and Sounds REAL".

Ralph Smith from Mathis, Texas a young retired carpenter, creates beautiful wooden tractors out of Red Oak, Mahogany and Jotba wood from Brazil. My husband rather blatantly said this would make a great Christmas present. The tractors are reasonably priced, with the average around $250.00.

Right down the row from Smith, Charles Frietag, the renown artist was painting his next print to be released. Last year at the show, Frietag was working on his print "Restoration" that I have seen for sale in shops all over Illinois. He makes it look so easy I get visions of painting myself until I see the results.

Outside, model tractors ran by remote control, and line after line of restored Deere's filled the rows. Two of what is usually a threesome, Joe Steim from Massachusetts, and Ron Guckien of Camden, Indiana have traveled with their 30 series tractors from Old Gold Show to this one. Steve Mellott, the third of the trio joined them in Iowa. Steim met Guckien and Mellott longtime tractor buddies at an Ageless Iron show back in 1985 when he started asking questions about tractor restoration. The threesome has been tractoring and showing together ever since.

On the edge of the tractor fringe, my husband's eyes glued to an exhibit of John Grant's wrench display. Grant, had wrenches held onto peg board and arranged in such a way that farmers and collectors from all over the show were stopping and making comments like, "I have one of those," or "What is that?" Grant took it all in stride and answered everyone's questions one at a time.Two rolls of film quickly disappeared as my husband clicked one picture after another for "reference." At the end of two rolls he looked my direction and said, "Where is another roll?."

The local gas station had only one roll left of 12 exposures at an exorbitant price.At that time, I decided it was time to take the camera away from him and go enjoy some of Amana's fine shops. He was hot and sweaty, when I picked him and my son Jason up a couple hours later. Ready to tackle some of Amana's fine cuisine, we headed for the nearest restaurant of choice then loaded up and continued on our journey.

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