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Largest vintage farm show
Wrenching Tales
By Cindy Ladage
 GORDYVILLE, Ill. – The Midwest Ag Expo annual farm show was Jan. 26. Members of the I & I Antique Tractor and Engine Club were set up at the farm show with several of their antique tractors. Several neat tractors were on display, like a Case 830, Oliver 1850 and Minneapolis Moline 100. There was also a 1939 Ford and a beautiful Ferguson along with an unusual 1962 John Deere 3010 gas tractor owned by Dean Blackwell. It is one of 175 made. Blackwell also had a JD 530 at the show.
The I & I group was on hand promoting its upcoming show, Historic Farm Days. This year is a big year for the John Deere D. The tractor, built originally in 1923, will celebrate its 100th anniversary. Historic Farm Days takes place July 13-18, 2023, in Penfield, Ill. A John Deere D was on display for visitors to see the tractor that would be featured at the upcoming show. For more information about Historic Days, log onto
Friends of Green, a group whose mission is “Building the Future by Preserving the Past,” was also sharing information about the D celebration and promoting the John Deere brand.
Along with members of the I & I Club, John Fredrickson, co-chair of the Half Century of Progress, was sharing information about the upcoming event. Frederickson and co-chair Russell Buhr unveiled the new theme of the show, “Family Heritage Tractors.” A special place will be set aside at the Half Century show for these family heritage tractors to be displayed.
“Make a poster or something to share the history,” Frederickson said. There is no need for tractors to be restored, it is fine to bring your family tractor in its working clothes. The chairs are excited to see how many generations show up and what stories people have about their tractors. The logo for the theme says it all with three generations surrounding a tractor and the American flag as the background.
Family Heritage Tractors can be any combination of family members, mother/ daughter, sisters, brothers. The family connection is what makes a tractor a heritage tractor. The show will be on Aug. 24-27, 2023, at the Rantoul Airport at the former Chanute Airforce Base. The Half Century of Progress is the largest working vintage farm show in the U.S. The show is always held the weekend before the Decatur Farm Progress Show.
At the Half Century of Progress show, collectors get the chance to see farming like it was 50 years ago. Since this year is 2023, that means that equipment from 1973 and older will be featured. The show is providing live demonstrations, attractions, static displays and more.
This year is the 10th year for the Half Century of Progress, which takes place every other year in conjunction with the Farm Progress show. At this year’s show, another aspect that will be featured is the IH Collectors of Central Illinois Chapter 10’s presents “A Century of Farmalls, 100 Years, 100 Tractors.”
For more information log onto and
The Prairie Central FFA was also at the Midwest Ag Expo with their raffle tractor, a John Deere A. The club restored the tractor.
Farmers got updated information from vendors at the show like Burrus Seed representatives, and Day Drainage. Along with older equipment, new equipment was on display from the U.S. and abroad. The Tuatara Expedition vehicle, named after the huge reptile found in New Zealand, a steel-framed electric UTV. This New Zealand Company also had a non-electric version at the show.
Farm shows are gathering places for information and friends during the cold winter. They are places where vendors roll out their wares and clubs share the upcoming shows. At the end of the day, the farmers and visitors head home with check marks for their calendars and the checkbook perhaps a little lighter after a purchase or two. At least they are updated with new information and had a chance to be informed.