A John Deere man shows off his tractors -- ready for the county fair
Since he started collecting them about 20 years ago, Roger Winter has acquired an impressive assortment of John Deere tractors of all ages, shapes and sizes. From horse-drawn plows and cultivators to an air-conditioned, modern behemoth that stand well over 15 feet in height, not to mention an assortment of miniature models inside his rural Callaway home, Winter’s collection contains a little bit of everything.
He’s created an outdoor showcase for some of them, laying down cement slabs on which to park some of the more unique pieces; Winter says he decided to put down the concrete to make mowing around the equipment a little easier. He’s dubbed the display area as “Winter Park,” and he says it’s already become a popular stop for a couple dozen bike riders on their way cross country, who take advantage of its cooling shade while snapping photos of the antique green and yellow machinery.
But the most impressive display in the little park is still waiting to be assembled; a brick mural created by a Nebraska artist that depicts a John Deere 730 tractor — which is, Winter admits, his favorite model. He currently has two different 730 models on display in his yard — one of them having been used as the family’s “all around” tractor for jobs around the farm since it was purchased in 1969. “We farmed with it for years,” he said. “My kids drove it, my wife drove it.”
That tractor is a “row crop” model, while the other, a recent acquisition that Winter purchased and restored about a year ago, is referred to as a “standard” 730 model — but with one unique feature. “It has an adjustable width front,” Winter said. “There aren’t many of those around.”
He plans to show off the rare machine at the 5th annual Becker County Fair Tractor Drive Rendezvous, which takes place Saturday, Aug. 10 in Detroit Lakes, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. “I’ll be driving it in the parade,” he said.
The Rendezvous will begin with a pancake and sausage breakfast at Adkins Equipment, located on the north edge of Detroit Lakes along Richwood Road. “We are planning to have a toy tractor and machinery display during breakfast at Adkins’, and are looking for participants to display their collections under the owners’ supervision,” said event organizer Ken Shroyer, in a news release. “Display tables will be provided.” The breakfast will begin at 9 a.m., and will be followed by the tractor parade, which leaves the Adkins Equipment grounds at 10:30 a.m. and proceeds south along Richwood Road to Roosevelt Avenue, then west on Willow Street to Rossman Avenue before ending at the Becker County Fairgrounds.
The tractors will then be on display at the fair until around 1:30 p.m., when they will return to Adkins Equipment along the same route as the parade. Tractors of all sizes, shapes and ages are encouraged to be entered in the parade, provided they are capable of a minimum speed of 6-7 miles per hour, and have rubber tires. All tractors entered must meet Minnesota public road travel regulations, and no passengers other than the driver will be allowed, unless the tractor is equipped with a belted passenger seat. Prizes will be awarded; in fact, Winter said, he has acted as a judge for the event each year since its inception.
Though his preference is for John Deere, he added, he has occasionally chosen models that were not green and yellow as winners. Each tractor entered in the Rendezvous should have an information sheet provided for display while the tractor is at the fairgrounds. The registration fee is $5, with $2 of that going toward the purchase of a Becker County Fair button or armband, to be used as admission to the fairgrounds.
For more information, please contact Roger Engstrom, 218-847-8841, or Ken Shroyer, 218-847-2674 or 218-849-5596 (cell).
Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.