Two area tractors to get exposure on 2010 calendar

Two area tractors to get exposure on 2010 calendar

Machines from Mahomet, St. Joseph showcased

Meet Ms. (or Mr.) May.

The bright orange, 1960 Chamberlain Canelander hails from Welshpool, Australia, and now resides on the farm of Darius Harms of St. Joseph.

A collector of antique and classic tractors, many of them International Harvesters, Harms said the Chamberlain is one of his favorites.

"It's a fast-moving tractor," he said. It can reach speeds of 35 miles an hour on the road. "And it's a nice tractor to drive," he said.

The Chamberlain is one of a dozen tractors highlighted in the new 2010 calendar "Classic Farm Tractors." Two of the tractors in the calendar this year are from East Central Illinois.

"This is the hottest sport in the country: restoring and collecting old tractors," said calendar creator John Harvey. And the tractors' owners are "the nicest people on the face of this country," he said.

Harvey, a retired agribusiness professional from Wilmington, Del., started producing the calendars 21 years ago when he was with DuPont, which at the time was launching a new brand that incorporated the word Classic. The Classic Tractors calendar was a marketing idea, and when Harvey retired from the company years later, he continued producing the calendar under his new company, Classic Tractor Fever, he said.

Each year, Harvey tries to feature several different brands of tractors, such as John Deere and Farmall, as well as some lesser-known classic tractors, in the calendar. Classic tractors are typically 25 to 50 years old.

He finds the tractor enthusiasts by networking at tractor shows and club meetings. Photographer Mike Hood travels the country taking the pictures for the calendar.

If you're curious how Harms got his hands on the row cropper from Australia, it turns out some friends of his in Australia shipped the Chamberlain Canelander and other tractors to him several years ago.

"They knew I collected a lot of tractors and they said to me, 'There's something you need to have that you don't have,'" said Harms, who has organized the I & I Club's Historic Farm Days in Penfield and the Half-Century of Progress show in Rantoul. Harms declined to say how many tractors are in his collection.

In addition to the Chamberlain, a 1951 Ford 8N belonging to Steve Clark of Mahomet is featured in 2010. The January photo features Parker at the helm of the tractor and plowing through a deep snow.

"I always liked to play in the snow," he said.

Parker, whose family owned a grain elevator in Mahomet, said he has always been interested in Ford tractors. A Ford tractor was the first he learned to drive as a boy, using it to pull hay from area fields to the barns. When children were too young to handle bales of hay, they drove the tractor, Parker said.

A Ford tractor "was easy for a young person to learn to drive. It was easy to operate the clutch and easy to steer compared with some of the other tractors," he said.

Parker, who now has about a dozen Ford tractors in his collection, said what's unique about the 1951 Ford 8N and its V-plow is that he built it using various components from around the country: the tractor was from Iowa, the plow was from Minnesota, the mounting frame was from Illinois, the tracks were from Wisconsin and the cab was from Ohio.

Other Illinois tractors featured in the calendar include a 1954 Farmall Super M belonging to agricultural news broadcaster Max Armstrong of Naperville and a 1949 Haas Model B and Model 2 belonging to Bob Haas of Roanoke.

Calendar orders

To order a copy of the calendar, call Harvey's company at 800-888-8979 or visit www.classictractors.com.

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