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Illinois antique tractor show is an FFA chapter’s project
Illinois Correspondent

FARMERSVILLE, Ill. — Adam Waldeck, a 16-year-old student at Lincolnwood High School in Raymond, Ill. will host his FFA project, Heritage Day, on Oct. 21.

Waldeck is a member of the Lincolnwood FFA Chapter, which won a state award for his project. Waldeck won a first in his FFA section and a second in his FFA district. Besides the awards, Waldeck’s project has also established him with a firm antique tractor fan base. The project, which is in its third year, has become an annual event that antique tractor enthusiasts look forward to all year.

“A bunch of us guys were talking about plowing, and we thought we would use the idea for an FFA project,” Waldeck said. “We keep a record book and get the stuff out for the show. The FFA has a stand set up and sells pork chops.”

Waldeck’s family, including his parents Greg and Laurie, and his FFA chapter hope to have a record number of tractors and visitors this year.

“We are hoping for 50 tractors,” Waldeck said. “Last year, we had 22 or so and several pickers. This year we will also have a blacksmith and kettle corn.”

While the event is hosted at the Waldeck farm, a variety of helpers make this project doable. Neighbors, friends and family all jump in and assist with Heritage Day - along with the Lincolnwood FFA Chapter. This year, friends Mike and Stacy Hart produced fliers.

While the FFA project is important for Laurie Waldeck, it is all about sharing and what the adults and kids learn while at the show.

“It is fun, and I like the older people and learn so much from their stories,” she said.

Interest in the antique tractor and equipment hobby has passed directly from father to son in the Waldeck family. The equipment that came out of the sheds looked as if it was ready for harvest during the 1950s. All of the equipment had a story attached that made it more than just a piece of iron.

A 1950 Chevy pickup with a Minneapolis Moline corn sheller mounted to the truck that came from Hopkinsville, Ky. has “Adam Waldeck Custom Shelling” written on the side. A 1939 International Harvester M with a New Idea picker and a sheller attachment was bought when Laurie and Greg Waldeck were married.

“He always tells me that these machines are for my birthday or Christmas,” Laurie joked.

The Waldecks had another 1944 M with a McCormick 2MH picker attached on display.

“We farm with John Deere, but Dad really likes old Cases,” Waldeck said. “But for me, the M started International Harvester being my favorite brand.”

On the Waldeck farm, there were two more International Harvester tractors - a 1950 M diesel and a 1957 450; along with a 1974 four-wheel-drive IH pickup that is Waldeck’s favorite. Of these tractors, the IH 450 is Waldeck’s tractor.

“The MD is my favorite tractor because I paid for it myself,” he said. “I helped out on the farm and sold my four-wheeler and go-cart and got a loan for the rest of it.”

Waldeck’s pride is the 1974 IH pickup.

“The truck came from Chris Zimmerman, who lives outside of Harval,” Waldeck explained. “I also had to pay for the truck. I paid off the tractor then asked for a loan. I was looking for an older truck and thought this would be fun especially because it was built the last year International Harvester made trucks.”

Greg admitted, “I don’t look for things, but they get hauled home.”

Laurie added, “It all started with an 8N Ford and a Farmall M. I can’t tell you where it went from there, all I can say is they always come in, but never leave.”

Heritage Day begins around 6 a.m. and ends sometime in the evening. With apple butter, plowing tractors, corn picking and a wiener roast, the day is full. For more details, call the Waldecks at 217-227-4493.

This farm news was published in the Oct. 18, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.