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Standing Out in the Field
Louis Weishaupt of Mackinaw pulls a plow with his 1948 Farmall M during a recent antique plowing tractor bee in Tazewell County.
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Antique tractor plowing bee creates buzz
The event, which is used to showcase the capabilities of antique tractors, attracted 53 participants who plowed 80 acres.
Published: Nov 5, 2010
Those farmers who may have forgotten what a plow looks like had a chance to relive part of agriculture’s history recently in Central Illinois.
An antique tractor plowing bee, organized by Tazewell County Farm Bureau member Louis Weishaupt, was held Halloween day near Mackinaw.
A total of 53 farmers and antique tractor enthusiasts, a record turn-out for the eight-year-old event, plowed 80 acres of farmland using only tractors at least 50 years old and mostly two, three, and four-bottom plows. The event, which was free to the public, attracted about 100 spectators.
“This was one of the best ones we’ve had,” said Weishaupt, who noted the quick harvest and dry weather made ideal plowing conditions. “We had all makes and models (entered in the bee), everything from Case, John Deere, and IH (International Harvester) to Minneapolis Moline and Ford.”
Weishaupt came up with the idea of hosting a plowing bee as a way to showcase the capabilities of antique tractors. This year’s event featured tractors that were built no later than 1959.
“There are quite a few of us here and in surrounding towns who go to antique tractor pulls,” Weishaupt said. “But there you only get to run them 300 feet down the track and that’s it. So, I thought, ‘Why don’t we have a plowing bee?’”
Weishaupt has hosted an antique tractor plowing bee every year since 2002 with the exception of last year, when the event was canceled due to the late harvest and wet field conditions.
“I hope to keep it going every year, as long as there’s interest,” he added. Weishaupt, a lifelong farmer, and his family own six antique tractors.
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