Tractors on parade in Clover Valley this month
By: Tammy Francois, Lake County News Chronicle
Whether you’re an Allis-Chalmers fan, a John Deere devotee, or your heart belongs to International Harvester, there’ll be something to catch your eye at the Clover Valley Tractor Show on June 29.
The event will take place at the home of Corlis West, who lives at the north end of Homestead Road. West has hosted tractor shows in the past, but took a break. He said he’s now eager to gather farm machinery enthusiasts together again.
“It started with some neighbors up by my house. We decided to get some tractors together,” West said, flipping through pictures of the 1998 show, dubbed “Heavy Metal in the Country,” on his Smartphone. “I recently retired and thought it would be fun to get that going again, now that I have more time to organize it.”
The event will include a tractor parade, but for the most part, it’s an opportunity for all gathered to appreciate machinery that has played an important part in the life and work of rural communities.
“They’re not making a lot of these tractors anymore. They’re simple and uncomplicated, just basic machinery from the 40s and 50s,” he said. West is a Twin Cities-area transplant who was drawn by the call of country living. He says he doesn’t farm, but he cuts hay and keeps four sheep as pets.
“Part of living in the country is having a tractor. I got one to plow the driveway,” he said, then not long after, he was approached about buying another, also an International Harvester, which he did. Now he has three.
“Any more than two and you’ve got a collection,” he said, and they’re not just pieces of machinery, they’re characters in the story of the owner’s life.
“If you really love your tractors, you name them,” West said. That first tractor, a 1956 International 200, became “Clifford,” a handle his little boys gave it because it was big and red, like the canine from the PBS children’s program. Soon to follow were Cecil and Lola.
Although loyalties run deep among collectors, West said the banter between owners is all in good fun, so he’s looking forward to the show and encourages others to participate, too, especially those who own functioning, unrestored machines. He also would like to work with others on organizing the event.
Contact Corlis West at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or would like to show your tractor.