Journey to Ankeny
by Cindy Ladage
We left Illinois on the first day of July and headed north and
west for Ankeny, Iowa. Minus two kids, we traveled light with only the
youngest in tow. As long as a pool was at the end of our destination
she was easy to please unlike the other two who have a multitude of
requirements to travel with mom and dad. Amana Colonies served as a
respite where we ate a family style lunch that sustained us with more
food than could reasonably fit into our ample physiques.
The show at Ankeny is really located just north of Des Moines,
Iowa and was called the World Expo of Antique Farm Machinery. We
arrived at the Expo around 3:00 p.m. and paid our $6.00 fee to get in
(no price break for kids) then separated. Keith went to check out the
parts that according to him have to be selected first thing before they
are picked over. Like a woman at a sidewalk sale, he will check out
each vendor and compare goods and prices. He gives a good impression of
Alice of the Brady Bunch in the meat department selecting the best roast
the way he lifts and turns each John Deere wrench or treasure to check
it for defects.
Heading for the exhibitor tent, many tractor publications such
as Antique Power, Gas & Engines, and Two Cylinder were represented.
There were a couple of people selling different kinds of memorabilia and
tractor trading cards. This year the weather was warm , so unlike two
years ago everyone was not making a mad dash to purchase sweat shirts to
The exhibit was big enough that you could not reasonably see
everything in a few hours so we came back on Friday to see it all at a
leisurely pace. The sky was leaden, and looked like rain early, but the
crowds that morning already were thicker than they had been the day
before. Volunteers from the Ansar Shriner's transported visitors back
and forth from their cars to the show. The golf carts they drove back
and forth could have you thinking their was 18 holes somewhere nearby.
Always on the look out for the new and different, I spent a lot
of time admiring Bill and Peggy Anderson's unusual collection. Bill
restores tractors at home in Superior, Nebraska. Peggy tears them
down, then Bill does the body, mechanical and paint work. The couple
began collecting mostly Minneapolis Moline, with at least one of most of
everything else. Soon though they wanted something a little different,
that's when they bought a West German made tractor, a 1958 Allgaier
tractor. The Allgaier company was the fore runner to the Porshe company.
In his exhibit, he also had a Bumgartz tractor and a rare Holder
There was every type of tractor imaginable at the World Expo.
Leader tractors, Wards, tractors, IH, and Olivers all vied for
attention. Ford tractors and B.F. Avery were also around along with
Minneapolis Moline. Each tractor type was arranged together in a
display area. The Deere exhibit was huge. In the Minneapolis Moline
tent I almost jumped for joy when I met Paul Weiss and took a picture of
his beautifully restored UDLX.
Paul Weiss said it took several years to restore this tractor
and he enjoyed the hunt as much as the restoration. The Comfort tractor
is always an eye catcher that everyone hovers around and wants to have
their photograph taken beside it. Paul Weiss had a blow by blow
photographic account of the restoration process so you could stop and
thumb through the photos. In the beginning, unless you knew what you
were looking for, you would never realize that the tractor in the
picture was a UDLX, let alone a Minneapolis Moline. Besides the photo
account, Paul also has a short description of the UDLX written by John
Ray Swanson was at the show with his beautifully restored Massey
Ferguson 30. Ray is at a lot of shows and people stop and admire his
Massey wherever he goes. Larry Mullen's Mustang was also part of the
Massey crowd that sat gleaming in the somewhat sunny sunshine.
One tractor that attracted a lot of attention was the first John
Deere tractor known. This tractor was on display for a while on Friday
before windy weather and tornado warnings forced the owner to put the
antique tractor away. A new section of the tractor shows that seems to
be creeping up everywhere these days much to my husbands delight was the
lawn tractor section. Nothing pleases him more than a glimpse of a John
Deere 110. He says that the ability to take a tractor to a show by just
sticking it in the back of his pick up is a great way to travel.
Evidently a lot of people agree, because lawn tractors of every year and
hue found their way into the Expo.
The first JD ever known.
The corn display is always one of my favorite exhibits to visit.
This year though this display had a tough rival with the Hog Oilers
collection collected and restored by Robert and Louise Cates of
Deerfield, Wisconsin. The hog oilers seem to come in every shape size
Tractor parts, memorabilia, rides, and an array of hot dogs on a
stick, turkey legs and other food were all part of the fun. An exhibit
of corn shelling took up a big section of the exhibit off to the side.
If you could avoid being in the dust you could get a great close up look
of the way corn harvesting used to be.
Around 3:00 on Friday, the sky darkened and the crowd thinned to
a trickle. I heard later on they closed early because of sever weather
warnings. We headed out and back towards Amana. The next day we
stopped in Homestead and visited a wood working shop where a Minneapolis
Moline collector works and displays some of him memorabilia. They said
they are in the midst of redoing a museum and to come back in a couple
of years and they would be ready for visitors.
On down the road in Sirgourney, Iowa we had the honor of touring
the Lyle and Helen Dumont Museum. Besides a variety of dolls, Hollywood
cut outs, and toy tractors and trucks, we saw the largest collection of
Oliver tractors we have ever seen assembled. The museum was spotless.
Signs and pedal tractors decorate the walls above the meticulously
restored tractors as you walk down aisle after aisle of tractors in the
24,000 square foot building. The museum also had the only known
complete set of Mogul gasoline engines built between 1915 and 1917. The
museum is open on weekends and the cost if $5.00 that is a pittance to
view this amazing collection. For more details about the museum, call
The rest of the way home we antiqued our way south and east
finally arriving home in time to collapse before enjoying the fourth the
next day. Nothing makes a better Independence Day than a great trip and
arriving home with kids and house all in one piece. If there was a big
party or major incident while we were gone, nobody is telling so the
only fireworks we witnessed were the fourth of July kind!
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