I am going to repair it. We took the broken needle out today and installed the repaired one that was in the toolbox. It"s pretty close. Needs a slight shim to get the clearance to the knotter frame, but is going to be OK.
I"m taking the broken one to work in the morning. I"ll operate on it after work with some nickel rod. I am a decent welder and am confident enough to tackle it now that I have a plan on how to get it back to the correct shape. Stay tuned, pics to follow in the next couple of days.
PS, thanks for the story, brought a smile to my face envisioning it. :)