Gettin' to Know...

Tom Fallbach by Rusty Simmons                      (August 2015)

I had never met Tom before this interview.  Mil Harr arranged a meeting with Tom and his wife Kelli at their peaceful home west of Sedalia.  It was a very good setting to sit down and talk.  Tom was well prepared for the event which made it easier for me doing an interview for the first time. He had spent the previous day making notes.

Tom was born in Chicago in 1927. His Dad delivered milk with a horse and wagon. His younger sister and Tom moved with the family to farm country west of Chicago’s Norwood Park. He worked with farm kids in the fields pulling weeds, earning 25 cents on Saturdays. In 1932 he went to a German Lutheran grade school. He graduated with 4 other students. He entered Taft High School in Norwood Park in 1940.  When Tom was a junior, he acquired a part time job at Gessner Training Kennel owned and operated by Ludwig Gessner.  All breeds were accepted for training; however, Mr. Gessner specialized in training Doberman Pinchers. In fact, He introduced the Doberman to the U.S.  Tom started with a wheel barrow and shovel, but finally was promoted to training the dogs for obedience and as war dogs.  Tom was the guy wearing the canvas sleeve and riding boots.  They put on demonstrations at Fort Sheridan and many local fairs.  When Tom entered the arena dressed as a German Storm Trooper, the crowd BOOOOED !!!  When Gessner at the other end of the arena released the Doby to race across to grab Tom’s arm and not release it until given a command, the  crowd cheered!!!  Tom graduated from Taft  and Gessner’s at 17 years old in the 1944.

Tom also joined the Coast Guard in 1944. One fine day, he traveled to Chicago to join the Navy, but a huge poster caught his eye advertising the Coast Guard wanting young men. That was the ticket he thought. That confused his father since his mission was to go to Chicago and join the Navy.  He was sent to boot camp in Brooklyn, New York. Tom really wanted to go to dog training but that was not available.  I think I have heard similar stories from other people that took part in WWII. Deep sea diving was available and Tom liked the water so he took it. After boot camp, he was sent to Washington DC Navel Yard for 3 months of deep sea (hard hat) dive training.

       While training in 1945, the war with Germany ended and Roosevelt died. Tom remembers the lights going back on all along the coast after victory in Europe was declared. It was something special to see, since the coast line had been dark for several years.

       Tom was then sent to Piney Point, Maryland to a torpedo testing range.  Torpedoes were fired off barges with dummy war heads.  Each torpedo was tracked to check and log it for proper operation. Tom would go out the next day to find the torpedoes and recover them.  His job was to tie a line that was attached to his air hose on the torpedo and secure the prop.  You didn’t want the torpedo to suddenly come to life. Then the fish (torpedo) would be retrieved. Tom served there a few months and then was assigned to an oiler carrying aviation fuel, oil and gas to refuel aircraft carriers in the North Atlantic. He had to go into the fuel tanks once they were empty to clean it out. By that time the hard hat diving gear had been replaced with lighter gear, but still not SCUBA.  Tom says one wouldn’t want to breathe the air in those tanks. He was the only diver on the ship USS Klickatat.  Most of the oilers were named after Native American tribes. The area above Michigan had a tribe named Klickatat. 

In 1946 he didn’t have enough points to be discharge so he was sent to Nantucket to serve on the Lightship, USS Nantucket. It might have been good duty but it was winter. The ship was anchored 80 miles off Nantucket Island. The ship is now in Boston harbor for public visits.  After the lighthouse ship duty, he still had four months left to serve so he traveled around to different bases to check fire extinguishers before being discharged in Chicago.

      Under the GI bill, Tom went to Aviation Mechanical school in Chicago.  He found work in a small airport at O’Hare Skymotive which later became O’Hare International. He did a lot of work on instruments. About that time he was also a part time scuba diving instructor at a YMCA when scuba was new.

Tom got married had three children, two boys and a girl, but the marriage didn’t last. After the marriage breakup, Tom moved to Littleton, Colorado.  His sons, Tom and David, eventually joined their father in Sedalia.  Carolyn also stayed with him a while before returning to her Mother. Before his divorce, Tom worked for a company in Melrose Park Il that made firefighting equipment.  He was promoted to the position of electroplating foreman. Probably due to his experience, he was hired by a chemical manufacturer out of Cleveland to join their sales department.  He was sent to Colorado to sell and service plating shops in Colorado and surrounding states. He retired from RO Hull chemical company after 21 years.

      Tom remarried in 1969 after moving to Colorado. He had met his wife, Kelli, in Wheaton, Illinois when she was a scuba diving student. They have two sons, Pat and Mike. 

      Tom joined a senior citizens teaching program in Douglas County after his retirement. Three days a week he taught math at Coyote Creek Elementary school in Highlands Ranch for 4 years. 

Tractors:

After marrying Kelli, he got interested in tractors through her father who was a lawyer.  Several of her father’s clients were involved with tractors. Kelli’s father learned about all the different tractors at the time.  After attending a Douglas County Fair with his father-in-law, Tom got the tractor bug.  He bought a 1935 JD A, tore it apart and put it back together. Then he was hooked.  Since then he attended many auctions, but Kelli won’t let him take the trailer any longer since that is how those tractors follow you home.  He belonged to Rocky Mountain Tractor Pullers Association. He started pulling with an Allis model B that he later turned over to Kelli to pull.  Tom has also pulled a 1940 JD model A, a 49 B and a model JD  M that he got from Mil and did well with it.

      Tom has published various articles in several publications.  Some of them are listed below.  We are not sure we can reproduce them, but some of the club members may have copies saved.

      Published articles Green Magazine: Basket Case, Sept 97; Trailer Stay Home, Oct., 05;.  Buzz Saw, May 99;

Music, Sept. 00;  Lumber camp, Dec. 03; and  Sandman, 04. Antique Power Magazine:  Hooked on Tractors, Sept. 92; Old Dog, Sept. 96; and Tractoraholic, May 96.

 

It was a my pleasure to get to know Tom, Kelli and their two dogs Merlin an






……..Ken Clements

Have you ever been around someone that is always happy, always smiling, and seems to have a good time no matter where they are or what’s going on around them?  If you’ve spent any time around Ken Clements, you know what I’m talking about.  Ken is just that person.  He’s one of the people that make the FRAPA events so much fun.  (He’s also the guy with the set of horns on the front of his Allis Chalmers tractor at the Stock Show Parade every year!)

     Ken was born in Wheat Ridge, Colorado and grew up in Arvada with his two brothers, Doug and Steve.  The family moved into a new house in Arvada when Ken was 9 years old.  In fact, it was such a great place to grow up that I bought that house so I could raise my daughter there!

     Ken’s mother was a homemaker and his father was a salesman and sold center-pivot sprinklers, mutual funds, and real estate.  He was also a carpenter and he worked at Sears.  In addition to all of this, his dad owned a company that treated wood utility poles with a preservative.  They would dig down two feet and applied the treatment to the poles to help prevent rot.  At one point they went from Denver to Kit Carson, Colorado and they inspected every pole and treated the ones that needed it.  That’s a lot of poles!

     Another interesting job Ken’s dad had was to test drive new Chrysler cars in the Denver area.

     Ken graduated from Arvada West High School and then went to college at Ft. Lewis College in Durango, Colorado.  He went to school with the intention of becoming a high school shop teacher but ended up earning a business degree instead.  He graduated from college in December, 1969 and joined the army in January, 1970.  He went from Ft. Lewis College to Ft. Lewis, Washington for basic training.

     After basic training Ken attended the Chemical, Biological, and Radiological Warfare School of the United States in Alabama.  He was there for 10 months and then got his assignment and in Ken’s class of 50, 49 were college graduates.  At this school Ken became an expert at using a flamethrower!  He learned a great deal about different types of chemicals, including napalm.  The were expected to know how to clean up chemical spills and one time they covered an army tank with a blister agent and had to clean it off.

     In 1971 Ken went to Korea where he served as a Chaplain’s assistant for four months and then became an office manager for a two-star general.  He served in this capacity for eight months and his responsibilities included payroll and the business side of the Officer’s Club.  It was also his job to ensure the food was good and that the booze wasn’t watered down, although he never told me how he tested that…..

     In Korea Ken spent quite a bit of time flying around in helicopters and was know as a REMF.  After his two-year commitment was up in 1972 he returned home to Colorado.

   In February, 1972, Ken started working for Public Service of Colorado.  He started as a meter reader, then a collector, then became a customer service representative.  He later did special projects such as studies, etc.  In 1985 he started working on street light billing where they collected from city governments in the Denver area.  He later became a trainer in this department.  One of the interesting things Ken was able to do was to tour the GE plant where the street lights were made.  In this role, Ken was often sued due to lights being out, a lack of light, or light pollution.  Ken retired in 2002.

     Ken met his wife, Sandra, about 25 years ago while square dancing on a “Round Dance Exhibition Team” that traveled around the U.S. to square dance conventions.  The team went to Moscow for a two-week trip in 1988 to do a show.  In November, 2007, 20 years after the team was disbanded, Ken was invited to a play at the Buell Theater in Denver.  He was set up with Sandra by a mutual friend.  Ken told me, “I asked her to be my square dance partner and now I have a permanent dance partner!”  Ken and Sandra were married on September 6, 2008.

     In 1996, while living in Arvada, Ken bought land near Bennett, Colorado.  Around that time he sold his Honda Gold Wing motorcycle and began collecting tractors.  At his house in Arvada he had a trailer and five tractors in his driveway so he built a building on his property in Bennett for storage and moved his collection out there.  Ken moved to Bennett in 1999.

     After retirement Ken became a full-time “tractor man”.  While he was working in the street light department at Public Service Ken told a coworker that he had an interest in old tractors.  That guy knew a girl who’s father collected tractors and she offered to get Ken in touch with him.  That man turned out to be Mil Harr and Mil told Ken about FRAPA.  Ken later joined the club.

    One day Ken was looking at tractors on a consignment lot near 92nd and Brighton Blvd. and a guy pulled up on a motorcycle at the other end of the line.  They met in the middle and started talking.  That guy was Les Parker and Ken told Les about FRAPA and Les later joined!

     Ken’s first tractor was a 1949 Farmall Cub.  Then he bought a John Deere A out near Manhattan, KS.  Then he bought a 1950 Farmall M and like so many of us, it just kept going.  His favorite tractor now is an Allis Chalmers WD that belonged to a relative near Red Oak, Iowa.  Ken bought the tractor and restored it.  He sent a picture of the restored tractor to the man he bought it from.  That man lived in a nursing home and he hung the picture on his wall where he could see it every day.

     Ken now has numerous tractors, engines, implements, and antique washing machines.  His favorite FRAPA events are plow days and Pumpkin Fest.  He also enjoys giving hay rides.  He likes the bigger exhibits where he can show is corn grinder.

     Ken and Sandra are now in the process of moving to Harrison, Arkansas.  Ken has already joined a club similar to FRAPA called Rusty Wheels and he’ll continue to have fun with his toys, but we’re certainly going to miss him.  Ken and Sandra, we wish you all the best.

                                                            Until next time, enjoy the club!                                                                Brandon Engelsman

The late Walt Staack

 

      As I’m sure most of you know by now, our good friend Walt Staack passed away at his home on February 7, 2012.  Walt was a great guy, a strong supporter of FRAPA, and a good friend to a lot of people everywhere.  Walt will truly be missed.

     When I decided to start writing these articles a couple years ago, Walt was one of the first people I approached.  I told him what I was planning to do and asked him if I could interview him.  He said, “Yeah, that would be fine, but it might not fit in one article.”  I told him that was ok, we could do it in parts if needed.  I then tried to set up a time for the interview and he told me he’d rather wait until the weather warmed up.  It was April, and not all that cold but I told him we could do it later in the summer.  So, I waited a couple months and asked again.  Still too cold……in June.  So, I waited two more months and, you guessed it, too cold……in August!  I started to think he had changed his mind about doing this but didn’t have the heart to tell me.  But I kept trying and always with the same result.

     Then out of the blue Walt called me on the night of Thursday, February 2.  He told me he was ready to be interviewed and that he would like to do it one night the following week.  I asked if I could come by over the weekend, but he said it was too cold.  I explained to him that I was traveling on business a couple days that week so we decided I would come to his house on Thursday, February 9.

     I flew out of town on Tuesday morning and right when I walked into the office in Pasadena I received an email letting me know that Walt had passed away.  I can’t remember the last time something hit me that hard.  For me it was a mixture of surprise, sadness and regret.  I think it’s always a surprise when someone passes away unexpectedly but the fact I had just spoken to Walt really got me.  I truly believe I missed a great opportunity to learn some interesting history about Walt, his past, and the history of the area around DBG.

     Walt grew up near the current Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield.  He told me one time that the house he grew up in used to sit at what is now the center of the King Soopers store on Chatfield and Wadsworth.  He attended school in the one-room schoolhouse that is still located at DBG, although be building is no longer in its original place.  I think Walt told me that every time we were together!  I think he was quite proud of that fact.

     I was hoping to tell the club members a lot more about Walt in the article that featured him but it simply didn’t work out that way.  Like so many of us, I will think about Walt at every meeting, especially when George asks us if we have anything else to share.  I will never forget the time George asked him, “Walt, do you have anything?” and Walt’s response was, “What do you want?”  We all got a good laugh out of that one.

     Walt is now in a better place and for that I am happy.  I will miss him tremendously.  I will miss his smile, his lightheartedness, and his friendship.  I’ll miss going to his house to visit because I was always welcome there.  I’ll miss watching him start his John Deere 435 Diesel that he always wanted to show me and the big smile it always put on his face.  I’ll miss him trying to sell me his Case LA tractor.  I’ll miss Walt Staack.

 

Anyway………..

 

Until next time, enjoy the club!

 

                                                     Brandon Engelsman


Randy Still

 

Do you remember that kid in school that everyone called the class clown?  The one that was always laughing and joking around?  In my opinion, FRAPA’s class clown is Randy Still.  I mean that in a good way.  He’s always making people laugh.  If you don’t believe me, just ask him what that “N” stands for on his Farmall tractor.  It’s a Nebraska sticker, but he’ll tell you it stands for “Nollidge”.  Randy, is that the correct spelling?

          Randy, along with his two brothers and one sister, was raised in the town of Wakefield, Nebraska, which is about 35 miles away from Sioux City, Iowa.  His dad owned a Standard Oil gas station in town and Randy often worked there changing oil, fixing tires, and filling up cars.  He also worked for some of the local farmers during harvest and doing other odd jobs.  One job in particular was to walk the bean fields cleaning out the weeds and the remaining corn from the previous year.  For this work he was paid a whopping $0.50/hr.  No wonder he can afford all those tractors!  One of the neighbors had a John Deere model B tractor that Randy started driving around the age of 8 or 9.  The neighbor told him, “If you can’t reach the brakes, you can’t drive the tractor.”

     Randy graduated from high school in 1967 and went to college for two years in Hastings, Nebraska where he enrolled in horticulture classes.  Randy earned a degree from that Junior College.

     After college graduation, Randy was drafted into the Navy and went in with two other guys from his graduating class, Tim and Dave.  They went to basic training in San Diego, California and from there Tim went to Hawaii to work on submarines and Dave was stationed on a supply ship.  Randy was assigned to a rocket launching ship called a Landing Ship Medium Rocket, or LSMR.  This boat had 135 crew members and had eight rocket launchers and .50 caliber machine guns.

     Randy was sent to Vietnam where his duty on the LSMR was to patrol rivers at night.  Their mission was to target the VC hot spots and Randy’s job was to load the rockets into the launchers.  During his time in the Navy Randy was in Vietnam in 1968 and in 1969 and he also visited Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Japan.

     When he came back to the US, Randy worked for his uncle hauling grain at the grain elevator in Wakefield.  He did this for two years, and then decided to move to Colorado in 1972.  The main reason for coming here was to ski!  The first job Randy landed in Colorado was at Green Valley Turf on south Santa Fe Drive.  From there he went to work for Davey Tree for a year as a tree trimmer.  Then he moved on to Asplundh Tree for another year.  After that he was hired on by the City of Denver Forestry Department.  He later moved into the Maintenance Department for Parks and Recreation where his main duties were electrical maintenance and lighting at the recreation centers, ball fields, and tennis courts.

     One interesting thing that Randy did when he worked for the City of Denver was to move the east stands at the old Mile High Stadium.  This had to be done between every Rockies game and Bronco game.  The stands were sitting on two Teflon runways and water was pumped into the tracks until the stands were raised about one inch.  There were some hydraulic rams that were about 12” in diameter that would move the stands and it was Randy’s job to run one of the rams.  The process took about 30 minutes and the stands moved a total distance of about 40’.  If the wind was blowing greater than 15 mph they couldn’t move the stands because the whole thing could be blown off the runways.  Randy did this every year until the Colorado Rockies moved to Coors Field.  It was also Randy’s job to run a bucket-truck before the Bronco games helping them erect the goal posts and the nets behind the posts.  Randy retired from the city in 2005 after 33 years on the job.

     Coming home from work one day Randy saw a John Deere B for sale around Colorado Blvd and Florida.  He didn’t buy it, but he did stop to talk to the guy selling the tractor who happened to be a FRAPA member.  The guy’s name was Bob and he told Randy about the club.  Shortly after that, Randy went back to Nebraska and bought a 1947 John Deere B with a cultivator.  He later sold that tractor to a man in Arizona that wanted to use it to cultivate around his trees.  He then bought an Oliver 77 from Don Cobb, then a John Deere A, then a John Deere 70, then a couple of Ford tractors, another Oliver, a Farmall M……….

     I think you get the picture.  He was bitten by that same bug that has bitten so many of us.

     The year 1996 was a big one for Randy.  That is the year he went to the Westminster Mall to see the tractor show and that is when he decided to join FRAPA.  It’s also the year he married his wonderful wife, Christine.

     Randy’s favorite FRAPA events are Pumpkin Fest and Cider Days.  He likes getting to know the club members and finds the club to be a group of good people.  Well Randy, I’d say you fit right in!

Until next time, enjoy the club!                                                    Brandon Engelsman



MIL HARR

When I joined FRAPA in 2006 I knew very little about tractors, engines, old farm equipment or how the old farming was done. But I quickly realized I could learn a great deal if I dedicated myself to learning about it and if I spent enough time working with the members of this club.  Shortly after joining, my dad and I attended our first general meeting.  After that meeting we attended our first work day at DBG.  I honestly don’t remember doing much that day, mostly clean-up work, but the one thing I certainly remember is seeing a tractor that, to this day, just might be my favorite one.  And I remember reading what was painted on the tractor and wondering who “M. Harr” is and what “FRAPA #2” means.  It didn’t take long to find out!

     It turned out, as most of you probably know, that Mil Harr was one of the two men that started FRAPA in 1982 but more about that later.  First, let’s find out who Mil is.

     Mil was born and raised on a farm in unincorporated Cosby, Missouri which is located about 60 miles north of Kansas City.  The farm is still owned by Mil and his sister and they rent the ground out to a local farmer.  Mil’s dad farmed that ground with John Deere tractors and as Mil explained to me, it wasn’t out of loyalty to the brand but due to the strength of the local implement dealer, Kurth & Bunse.  Because of this, most farmers in the area farmed with John Deere tractors.

     It was at this John Deere dealership that Mil’s interest in mechanics was born.  The shop foreman, Bus Homan, taught him how to bore out and overhaul a Cushman motor scooter engine and allowed Mil to watch him overhaul tractors.  Mil was also allowed to rummage through the trash barrels in the shop looking for ball bearings to use as ammunition for his sling shot.  I asked Mil what he shot with that thing and he smiled and said, “Anything and everything!”

     After high school Mil enrolled at the University of Missouri where he earned a degree in Agricultural Engineering.  He was also a part of the ROTC program there.  In his senior year of college Mil met his wife, Mary.  They were married in 1960 and they had three children; Christine, Richard, and Alice.

     After graduation in 1959 Mil joined the United States Air Force and went on active duty for six years.  Because of his involvement in the ROTC program in college, Mil went into the service as a 2nd lieutenant.  His goal was to become a pilot and there were three steps in the process of becoming one.  The first was primary training, the second was basic training where he earned his aeronautical rating, and the third was where he got his assignment.  Mil’s assignment was to become an instructor pilot.  In this role he taught other pilots to fly both propeller planes and jets and he was stationed at two different bases during this time, Moody AFB in Georgia and Randolph AFB near San Antonio, TX.  Mil explained the training process to me and how the planes were equipped with two sets of controls; one for the trainee and one for the trainer.  The trainer would demonstrate a maneuver such as a roll, and then turn it over to the trainee and they would do it.  Sounds simple to me!

    

 

Mil was on active duty during the Vietnam War and he spent a lot of his time training Vietnamese and Cambodian pilots to fly.  Most of these pilots were in their late teens or early 20’s and Mil told me this is where he “learned patience.”  He later made two trips to Vietnam in Boeing 707s shuttling soldiers to and from the war.  One of the trips was the longest flight Mil ever made.  The trip from Okinawa, Japan to Travis Air Force Base, north of San Francisco took 14 hours!

     Mil was discharged from the Air Force at the rank of Captain in 1965 and was hired by Continental Airlines.  He was a pilot for Continental until he retired in 1997.  During his career he lived in California, Hawaii, and then moved to Colorado.  He described flying to me as “hours and hours of boredom punctuated by moments of stark terror.”

     During his working years, Mil would go back to the farm to help out and he always had to work on the 1948 John Deere A that his dad bought new.  In 1979 Mil bought his first pickup and trailer and decided to bring that tractor home to Colorado to restore back to a working tractor since he never had enough time to do that when visiting.  This is when his collecting and restoring hobby began.

     When retirement came in 1997, “tractoring” became full time.  Mil still owns that John Deere A as well as a John Deere D that his father owned.  In 2007 he restored a 1950 JD B that Mil remembers a neighbor buying new.

     When he first started working on tractors Mil was a customer of Stephen Equipment, a John Deere dealer in Franktown, Colorado.  One day he had a conversation with Greg Stephen about their interest in antique engines and tractors.  They decided to invite some other enthusiasts to the dealership to discuss the idea of forming a club.  This happened in 1982 and that was the beginning of the Front Range Antique Power Association.  There were around 20 initial members with Greg Stephen being member #1, and Mil Harr becoming “FRAPA #2”.  He assumed the responsibility of keeping track of membership and he published the newsletter.  The majority of the members back then were retired machinists, metal workers, and mechanics.  Because of this there were no mechanical problems that couldn’t be solved with skills, knowledge, and sources of parts from club members.  Lucky for us, the club is still full of skilled members.

     Mil loves to take a John Deere tractor, disassemble it to rebuild, and reassembling it.  In his opinion, this is the way to “do it right”.  One of the tractors he “did right”, a 1941 John Deere B, made its way to Kenya to help the people there grow corn to eat.  This was also done because Mil is heavily involved with non-denominational Community Bible Study leadership.  Obviously, Mil is a very good guy and he found this project was a good way to “give back”.

     Mil’s favorite FRAPA events are Cider Days and Pumpkin Fest.  He loves being able to teach and entertain the people that attend those shows.  At Cider Days enjoys working on the saw mill and at Pumpkin Fest he enjoys running corn through his corn sheller.  All the dust he helps create sure draws a crowd!

     Mil’s favorite tractors are the 30 Series John Deere tractors.  In particular, he likes the 530 and 630 models and the 730 Diesel with electric start.  My favorite, one that just happens to belong to Mr. Harr, is the 1955 John Deere 70 LP that I saw that first day in 2006.  I was happy to see that tractor on display at Pumpkin Fest this year!

     If it wasn’t for “FRAPA #2” we wouldn’t have this club, the friends we’ve made, a way to show the history, and I certainly wouldn’t have had the opportunity to learn all that I have.  So, thanks Mil!

 

Until next time, enjoy the club!                                                            Brandon Engelsman

 

 

ARNIE HOLLINGSWORTH

I started writing these articles because it sounded fun. And as I’ve mentioned before, it is. I thought it would be fun to see the words I wrote printed and distributed in the newsletter, and it is. But the best part is having the opportunity to sit down with FRAPA members, shoot the breeze, take some notes, learn a bunch of interesting stuff….and laugh! And that is exactly what happened when I interviewed Arnie Hollingsworth. I laughed a lot. Arnie is not only a very nice guy, he is also entertaining in a number of ways. For those of you that know Arnie, I’m sure you would agree.

Arnie is another Colorado native. He was born in a sod house in eastern Colorado, out near Last Chance, and he grew up on a nearby farm with his parents and three brothers. He went to school in Deer Trail, Colorado and, like some of the other guys I have written about, Arnie attended a one-room school house for the first four years. He later graduated from Deer Trail High School.

As Arnie told me, growing up back then was a lot different than it is today. People had to work hard where he came from and he told me, “The good old days were full of hard work”. One job he shared with his brothers was herding sheep. He told me that growing up on the plains offered the opportunity to see things most other people never get to see. He told the story about something he saw that I thought was interesting; he once watched a bull snake fight a rattle snake. He said the bull snake wrapped up the rattle snake and the rattler ended up biting itself and it died! He was correct, not many of us have had the chance to watch that happen!

Arnie met his wife Jolette in Strasburg and the two were married in Denver in 1959. They have a daughter, Linda, and a son, Brock.

After Arnie and Jolette were married they lived in Deer Trail and Arnie became an over-the-road truck driver. After doing that for a while he started working construction and they moved around some. From 1960 to 1964 Arnie worked in different parts of Colorado and the state of Washington doing concrete work paving missile silos. A career change came in 1964 when Arnie trained to be an auto mechanic and started working at car dealerships. In 1971 he started teaching at Denver Automotive and Diesel College, and then later taught Auto Tech at Sheridan High School. Arnie spent nine hours a day lecturing and teaching. Some of that was classroom time and some was hands-on training. During this time Brock started to read and study the manual Arnie taught from. Arnie said that becoming a mechanic was the only thing Brock ever wanted to do…once again, I guess that apple didn’t fall from the tree.

Through all of this Arnie prayed that one day he would have his own shop. His prayers were answered in 1976 when Arnie bought a business, Edwards Specialized Auto Service, which was located near Federal and Florida in Denver. Arnie finally had his own shop!

While Arnie and his family lived in Englewood, they acquired some mountain property through inheritance up near LeVeta, Colorado. Arnie shared a number of stories about that too, but I don’t think I can take up the space needed in the newsletter to tell you all of those stories! I’ll just tell you about the one I liked best; a couple of friends had a camper on the mountain property and one night while the two of them were in that camper a bear tried to get in to get some food. The next week one of the guys invited Arnie up because he “wasn’t comfortable being alone with the bears.” Against his better judgment, Arnie went along. About an hour after he went to bed that night his friend woke him up and told him, “I think we have company.” They shined a light out the window and were looking right at a bear and his buddy tells him, “Don’t worry, he’s the nice one and he doesn’t give us any trouble.”

Arnie slept in the truck.

For those of you that have been able to join us on the tractor rides, you know that Arnie is a great guitar player and singer. Arnie started playing in 1956 where he played in a bunk house on a ranch where he worked. He started building guitars in 1971 and has done it ever since. He makes them out of maple, mahogany, walnut, spruce, and cedar and each one takes about two weeks to make. He builds electric guitars and acoustic guitars and most are made-to-order. He does keep a few to use as demos and he still has the first one he ever made. In addition to building guitars, Arnie also gives guitar lessons and repairs guitars. Needless to say, he keeps busy.

In 1998 they bought land out by Strasburg where they currently live. Then in 1999 Arnie retired and sold his shop. Arnie and Brock built the shop by the house in 2001 and they used an Allis Chalmers WD to do it. Brock and his family now live just up the road from Arnie and Jolette.

Growing up on the farm, Arnie’s dad had John Deere tractors. With a smile on his face he told me he used to tell his brother that “Dad didn’t know what a good tractor was.” Arnie now has six or seven tractors but his favorite is a 1936 Allis Chalmers model U. He enjoys plowing with this one and he still participates in tractor pulls when they’re close to home. In the late 1980s a friend of his and FRAPA member, Joe Krehbiel, introduced him to the club and he joined.

Another favorite tractor of his that he likes to use is an Oliver 66 that he bought from FRAPA member Nick Drobnitch.

Arnie also spends a fair amount of time working on tractors with another FRAPA member, Ray Longwell. Ray also lives in Strasburg, which is handy!

I asked Arnie if he had any favorite FRAPA events and he said no, no favorite events. He just really enjoys the people.

Like all great organizations, it’s the people that make them what they are and Arnie is one of the great ones that help make FRAPA what it is.

Until next time, enjoy the club! Brandon Engelsman

 

 

Clint Rau

So far, every time I’ve approached a FRAPA member asking them to be the subject of one of my articles I’ve gotten the same response.  Every one of them has told me that their story isn’t very interesting and that a lot of other members would have more to tell and would be more interesting.  Lucky for us, every one of them has proven himself wrong!  Clint Rau is no exception.

     Clint was born in Logan County, North Dakota, just north of the town of Napoleon.  He was born on the family farm and so were his two younger sisters.  Clint’s grandmother was the midwife that helped deliver the three babies.

     Clint’s dad started farming with horses and in 1941 he bought a new John Deere B.  Today this tractor is owned by Clint’s sister and it enjoys the easy life…no farming, only parades and hay rides.  (I know of a few other tractors that enjoy that retired life!)  In 1945 his dad bought a farm outside Streeter, North Dakota and in 1949 he bought himself a new John Deere A with a 3-bottom plow, a packer and a pony drill.  The farm was two miles outside of town and the dealer drove the tractor out to demonstrate it.  The tractor was equipped with hydraulics and Clint was taught to operate it at the age of 8.

     On their farm they grew wheat, oats, barley, corn, flax, hay, silage, and cattle and in the summer it was Clint’s job to cultivate the corn with the JD B.  Clint’s dad later added Powr-Trol hydraulics so Clint could raise and lower the cultivator.

     Growing up, Clint always thought he’d be a farmer but it didn’t turn out that way.  He graduated from high school in 1959 and stayed at home for the next four years.  During this time he ran his own roller skating company.  That’s right, roller skating!  Clint went to four different towns and rented buildings that were big enough to skate in.  He owned his own equipment that he took from town to town and he rented it to the skaters.  They had a skate night four nights a week, one night in each town.

     In March, 1963, Clint joined the Navy and was sent to San Diego for basic training, then to a school in Great Lakes, Illinois where he trained to be a diesel mechanic.  In November, 1963, he was sent to Key West, Florida and was stationed on the USS Brough.  This boat was a destroyer escort ship and their job was to guard the destroyers.  Their mission was to patrol the Cuban coastline during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  They picked up Russian ships and followed them into Cuba, waited for them, then followed them back out.  One night he and a few others were out on the back of the ship and all of a sudden they were bathed in light and a voice came out of the darkness telling them they were too close to shore.  They were not supposed to get within ten miles of shore but had drifted closer than they thought.  They left, but had no idea if they would be attacked!  Clint served on that ship for two years before they decommissioned it.  The USS Brough was the last destroyer escort in service.  Once the ship was decommissioned, Clint was eligible for another school so he was sent to Norfolk, Virginia for helicopter maintenance school for three months.

     Clint then served on board the USS Shenandoah, which was a Destroyer Tender Repair Ship.  Clint describes this ship as a large floating machine shop and its main function was to pull up next to destroyers and tie up so the mechanics from Clint’s ship could go aboard the destroyer to do repair work.  On this ship, Clint worked on radio-controlled helicopters that were launched from the ship armed with two torpedoes.  These unmanned helicopters were rather small; the skids were about 5’ apart with the two torpedoes mounted between.  They had a turbine engine, a transmission, and the back of the helicopter was all electronics.  There was no tail rotor on these because they had counter-rotating blades and the tips extended to make it turn.  These were flown off the deck with a controller, much like a radio-controlled car, and this was done by sight.  Once it was launched the people in a room on the ship, called the Control Center, picked them up by radar.  At the same time they used sonar to detect enemy submarines.  On their screens the controllers would see a green dot (the helicopter) and a red dot (the submarine) and would fly the green dot above the red dot and release the torpedoes, then the helicopter would return to the ship and the guys on the deck would land it by remote control.

     Clint was discharged from the Navy in March, 1967.  After his discharge, Clint went back to the family farm.  There was a drought that year and the crops were poor so he went back to school in September, 1967 to learn about aircraft maintenance.  He graduated in September, 1968 and was hired by Northwest Airlines in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  He worked there for two months and then they went on strike.  He was then hired by Fleet Airlines in Minneapolis.  That airline went bankrupt in 1970 so Clint took a part time job greasing trucks.  They soon realized they needed to do mechanical repairs on the trucks so Clint became their mechanic.

     In 1976, Clint started his own business called Field maintenance.  He built this up to 2 shifts with six mechanics on each shift.  This was a very successful business that he later “sold”.  In 1991 he started another business, Rau Truck Service, and this time he did it alone.  This business was also quite successful and was strictly mobile.  Clint was a certified DOT inspector for the state of Minnesota and his biggest account was Atlas Van Lines.  They hired Clint to inspect their trucks every six months.  He sold that business in 2003 and moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming.

     Clint is also a pilot and has owned numerous planes.  While living in Minnesota in 1998, Clint reunited with a childhood friend, Bernice, a resident of Arvada, Colorado, and they started dating.  Clint would fly his plane to Jeffco airport to see Bernice or she would fly to see Clint.   They got married in 2007 and that was when Clint sold his plane.  They now live in Arvada, Colorado and Clint has a nice three-car garage where he works on cars and tractors.  Clint has two sons.  The oldest is in the truck repair business and the youngest is a pilot and flies C-130s for the Wyoming Air National Guard.  I guess the apples didn’t fall far from the tree!

     Clint has a nice 1960 Chevrolet Impala 2-door hardtop, a 1947 John Deere M, numerous John Deere H tractors, two John Deere B’s, and a John Deere 70.  Clint bought the 70 on an auction in North Dakota and brought it home.  He started working on it and when he took the hood off he found the instrument panel to be full of soot.  He thought that looked familiar and did some checking.  It turns out that this used to be his father’s tractor and he had no idea it was the same one when he bought it!  It was in a fire when his dad owned it and in the fire, the tires were burned and the sheet metal had to be replaced.  In 1969 his dad traded it in on a John Deere 4020 and it was later sold to the farmer Clint bought it from.  Amazing!

     In 2005, while Clint was in town visiting Bernice, he was told of the tractor show at the Westminster Mall.  They went to look but there were no FRAPA members around.  In 2006 he came to the same show where he met Les Parker.  Les showed him around and Clint joined the club.

     Clint likes the camaraderie of the club members and he likes the “old iron”.  His favorite club events are plowing, Pumpkin Fest, the Greeley Show and the show in Victor.  He especially enjoyed helping Steve and Wes Stratman with their displays at that show in 2010.  As nice as Clint is, and as helpful as he is, I’m sure Steve and Wes enjoyed it just as much as Clint did!

     At the beginning of this article I told you that Clint said his story wasn’t interesting.  I certainly disagree and I think you might, too!

 

Until next time, enjoy the club!

 

Submitted by Brandon Engelsman

 

 

 

Bill Vetos

 

     This is now the fifth Gettin’ to Know article I have written for the FRAPA newsletter.  Each time I write one I enjoy the process a little more.  I learn about the people I interview and write about and I find out what is important to each of them.  Before writing this one, I went back and read the previous four articles and that was when it hit me that these articles have quickly become something to me that is a lot more meaningful than a simple article; I’m strengthening the friendship I share with each person I write about.  The subject of this article is Bill Vetos and I can tell you that the connection my family has made with Bill and his family in the past couple of years runs a lot deeper than I realized.  And for that reason, this article is a pleasure to write.

     Bill was raised on a farm near Beresford, South Dakota where they grew corn, beans, oats, and where they raised cattle and hogs.  During those years Bill’s dad, Joe, had a Ford 2N that he bought new in 1946, a Farmall Regular and a Massey Harris model 30.  In fact, when Bill was 5 years old his dad had him run the 2N while Joe operated the binder Bill was pulling!  Then, in 1952, Bill’s dad bought a brand new Minneapolis Moline model Z.

     Growing up, Bill did the majority of the mechanical work on the farm himself.  In his senior year of high school Bill overhauled and repainted their Massey Harris 30.

     After graduation in 1959 Bill farmed a quarter-section with his dad for about three years.  Then, in 1962, Bill went on the road selling steam cleaners for the Sioux Steam Cleaner Company.  He sold these mainly to implement and car dealerships.  This was a job Bill enjoyed while traveling around South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Missouri.

     In 1964 Bill joined the Air National Guard in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  He was then sent to Lackland Air Force Base near San Antonio, Texas for basic training.  After basic training he was sent to radar school at Lowery Air Force Base in Denver, Colorado.  Bill then returned to South Dakota for a very short time before coming back to Denver.

     He started selling pressure washers in the Denver area and one day visited a beer distributor in Aurora, Colorado.  That sale turned out to be “the perfect sale” and lucky for Bill it was witnessed by a man that worked for Transport Pool.  This man later offered Bill a job and in February, 1967, Bill went to work for him.

     Then in 1972 Bill worked for a company that leased semi trucks to railroads.  Here he made contact with the Denver Rio Grande Railroad.  Bill then started his own company, K&B Services and contracted to operate the piggy-back ramp for Denver Rio Grande.  Their job was to back semi trailers onto railroad cars for shipment.  This contract was maintained until 1994.

     In 1980 Bill met his lovely wife Rosemary.  They started a new company called Complete Container Services in September, 1980.  Bill and Rosemary operated both K&B Services and Complete Container Services until 1994, when K&B’s contract with the railroad ended.  Once K&B went out of business they phased the trucking part of that company into Complete Container Services.  At that time the main functions of their company were storage, trucking, and shipping container repair.  During much of this time Bill did his own mechanical work.  He learned a great deal about diesel engines from a good friend of his, Duane Kaufman, who was the Fleet Manager for the Rio Grande Motorway.

     In 1993 Bill bought a John Deere 820 from a widow in Washington County, Colorado for $750.  The tractor was not running so Bill did a full restoration in his garage.  To this day that 820 is Bill’s favorite tractor.

     In 1997 Bill attended a parade in his home town in South Dakota.  He spotted a Minneapolis Moline model Z and immediately recognized the concrete in the rear wheels that his dad used as wheel weights.  Bill contacted the owner and made him “an offer he couldn’t refuse” and bought back his dad’s old tractor.  That tractor is now one of many in his collection.

     In 2001 Bill and Rosemary bought property in Golden, Colorado and they moved into a house on that property.  In 2003 they built their building that houses their collection and they started building their new house in 2005 and moved in last year.

     Bill had an employee, Mike Konecney, who was friends with FRAPA member Steve Logan.  Bill found out about the club through Steve and he joined FRAPA in 1997.  One interesting note: Bill has in his collection a beautiful John Deere B.  This tractor belonged to Steve Logan and was sold to Mike Konecney.  Mike began restoring the tractor and disassembled it.  Prior to completion, Mike passed away.  Mike’s mother then sold the tractor to Bill and Bill had it professionally restored by another FRAPA member.

     Bill has approximately seventy tractors and other pieces of equipment.  Included in that collection are John Deere, Minneapolis Moline, Case, Farmall, Massey Harris, Allis Chalmers, Oliver, Ford, and one General.  He also has numerous Caterpillar crawlers and dozers and many implements.

     Bill would like to find a John Deere 2-cylinder high crop tractor, a Rumely, and a Waterloo Boy to add to his collection.  He also plans to start a museum some day.

     Bill and Rosemary have three daughters, Jennifer, Julie, and Abigail, and all three work for Complete Container Services.  They also have a new granddaughter, Ava.

     Bill is active with FRAPA and enjoys the club.  What he enjoys most are the people, the friendship, and the helpful nature of the club members.  His favorite FRAPA events are Pumpkin Fest, Cider Days, and the Stock Show Parade.

     For those of you that were able to attend the 2010 Christmas Party, you were lucky enough to spend the day with the Vetos family, tour their beautiful home, and view their collection.  The fact that they invited us all into their home just proves how generous these people are.  And that is precisely the reason my family has developed such a close relationship with Bill and his family.  In my opinion, those relationships are what FRAPA is all about.

 

Until next time, enjoy the club!

 

                                                                                                    Submitted by Brandon Engelsman

 

 

Larry Bauer          

 

Have you ever heard the saying, “I bleed green”?  Well, I don’t know of anyone in the club that fits that more than Larry Bauer!  In fact, when it comes to tractors, I’m not entirely sure if Larry even knows they come in other colors.  Well, it’s not that bad, but he does love those John Deere tractors.

     This is a special version of this article for me because, if not for Larry Bauer, I may never have joined FRAPA.  In 2006 I got a phone call from a friend telling me about a tractor show at the Westminster Mall.  It didn’t take long before the whole family was in the car and heading to Westminster.  We started looking around and the first person we met was Larry.  He took us around and showed us all the displays and explained FRAPA to us.  We joined right then and there!

     Larry was born and raised about ten miles outside Sidney, Nebraska.  (He was born one day after my dad, Jim Engelsman)  Larry’s father farmed about 1200 acres and grew beans, sugar beets, corn, alfalfa, and wheat.  When Larry was six years old his dad took him out to the wheat field at harvest time and taught him how to drive.  What he learned to drive was a 2-ton Chevy truck with a hand throttle!  Larry drove the truck while his dad drove the combine.  At an early age he also drove a Ford 8N tractor raking hay and cultivated with a John Deere MT.  He later spent time running the other tractors on the farm.  They had a John Deere 60, a John Deere 70 Standard Diesel, a John Deere 420 and an International Super M.

     When Larry was growing up his father had a hired man by the name of Jake Dienes.  Jake did about everything around the farm and he taught Larry how to set the irrigation lines among other things.  (During this interview it became quite clear to me that Jake Dienes meant a great deal to Larry and his family.)  In 1958 Larry’s father was involved in a car accident and was unable to work on the farm.  In his absence Larry and his mother fed the cattle twice a day and Larry and Jake did all of the farming.

     In 1964, Larry’s senior year of high school, a business school from Denver was in Sidney for their Career Day.  Larry, along with a friend, made the decision to come to Denver to attend Parks School of Business.  They enrolled in two-year punch card programming course.  Prior to graduation Larry was hired by Wolf Research and Development.  They worked on a Department of Defense contract at Ent Air Force Base where, at that time, NORAD was based.  They had vacuum tube computers that were fed military and satellite data.  That information was then converted to punch cards and loaded into the system.

     Then in 1966 Larry was sent for a military physical.  His father later called him from Nebraska to notify him that his draft notice had arrived.  Rather than join the Army, Larry enlisted in the Marines.  He was then sent to San Diego for basic training and was later assigned to the combat engineers unit at Camp Lejeune, NC.  Around this time Larry visited a cousin that lived in Washington DC.  His cousin shared an apartment with three other guys and in the apartment next door were four girls.  One of those girls was Jenny, Larry’s future wife.

     Larry served in the Mediterranean and visited places such as Rome, Naples, Venice, and Munich.  He was later sent to the Caribbean and was stationed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for 4 ½ months.  Larry left the Marines as a Corporal.

     After his military service Larry was hired as a computer operator for the FBI and worked in Washington DC at the NCIC which was the only computer center the FBI had at the time.  Larry didn’t like DC so he returned to Sidney in 1969 and was later hired by the state of Colorado as a computer operator.  There they processed all motor vehicle records, drivers’ licenses, income tax, and all other major tax such as liquor and sales tax.

     Later that year Jenny moved to Denver and they got married in November.  One year later she started working for the state of Colorado as well.  Larry worked for the state for 31 years and retired on January 1, 2000.  Larry and Jenny have one daughter, Amy, who is also a FRAPA member.

     In 1978 they had a house built and around that time he found a new hobby…tractors!  He bought a 1954 John Deere 60, then a 1950 John Deere G (this one will not be restored).  This tractor was sold new at Sidney Implement.  In fact, Larry now owns four tractors that were originally sold at that dealership.

     In the early 1980’s Larry heard about a tractor pull at Stephens Equipment in Franktown, Colorado.  FRAPA had a table set up there and Larry joined the club.  At that time he was working so he didn’t get too involved in the events but that has certainly changed now!

     Larry now owns 19 tractors.  When I asked him which one of the 19 was his favorite, he told me “The 1929 D and all of the G’s”.  I then asked what he would like to get to add to the collection and he said he’d like another Unstyled A with round spoke wheels.

     Larry enjoys the hobby and especially the shows, the parades, and the restoration work and his favorite FRAPA event is Pumpkin Fest.

     Since joining FRAPA Larry has served in a number of capacities.  He has served as Historian, Board Member, Secretary, and now as Vice President.

     There are quite a few FRAPA members that contribute to the club but I don’t know of any that does more for us than Larry Bauer.  It is members like him, who have a passion for the hobby and a dedication to the club, that make it so enjoyable for the rest of us.  If you enjoy FRAPA and our events, be sure to thank Larry.

 

Until next time, enjoy the club!                                                        Submitted by Brandon Engelsman

 

 

Steve Logan

   

      With over 325 active members of FRAPA and with only six issues of the FRAPA newsletter published each year, it’s going to be hard to decide who to write about since each member has a story and so far, all have been quite interesting.  This time, however, that decision was not hard for me to make at all.  You see, I think getting to know your neighbor is a good thing.

     I live in Arvada, Colorado and Steve Logan lives in Lakewood, Colorado, but he lives about three blocks away from the house where I grew up and he’s lived there for the past 18 years.   However, until I joined FRAPA, we’d never had a chance to meet.  But in the past five years our families have become very good friends and because of that, I think you all should get to know Steve Logan.

     Steve Logan was born and raised outside the small town (population 95) of Quitman, Missouri (pronounced Missour-uh!) where his family rented a small 5 to 6 acre farm.  During that time his dad did some farming and they raised corn, milo, and pigs.  They also grew raspberries in a large patch from which Steve would pick the raspberries to take into town to sell.  In addition to all of this, Steve would work for other local farmers.

     Steve’s family farmed with a few different tractors including a Massey Harris 44 and a Case VAC.  Because of its size, the Case was mostly used to cultivate their garden.  Steve also spent a lot of time on an Allis Chalmers that was owned by the landlord.  Steve told me the story of how, when he was young, he would walk over this hill and wait for his neighbor to pick him up on that Allis Chalmers tractor.  Steve would ride around all day with him working the fields.

     During the school break at the end of 1963, Steve’s family relocated to Commerce City, Colorado.  City life was a big change for the family.  For Steve it was a big change having to travel so far to school because in Missouri the school was just across the railroad tracks.  Having neighbors so close by took a little getting used too as well.  Since the houses were so close together she was afraid that any noise they made would be heard so his mother kept reminding him to be quiet because “he was in the city now”.

     Steve graduated from Adams City High School where he received machine shop training.  After graduation Steve joined the Air Force.  Steve served in Vietnam in 1969 and was there for five months.  While there he repaired radar and radios for the planes that took pictures used to make maps to assist bombers.  Steve spent his time in 2 or 3 man stations which was dangerous.  They used to try to “hide” in the jungle even though they had a 50 ft. antennae sticking up through the trees!

     When Steve came back from military service he returned to school to resume his training as a machinist.  It just so happened that his teacher was the same one he had in high school.  At that time there weren’t many jobs but Steve’s teacher helped place him in a small shop.  Next door to that shop was a custom paint shop.  Steve started working there as well and that eventually turned into a full-time position.  Steve began prepping and then went into painting and he did that work for about five years.

     Then, in 1976, Steve met Pat, his future wife.  Steve knew Pat’s uncle and they met through him.  Steve later worked at a chrome shop in Westminster, Colorado that was owned by Pat’s family. They later sold that business but Steve stayed on as an employee.  Steve became friends with one of their customers who was a millwright and together they started building custom motorcycles.  This led Steve down a path into an apprenticeship for the millwright union while still building bikes.

     Steve eventually became a millwright and did that work for 28 years.  This work included the fabrication, moving, and placing of machinery that weighed up to 200 tons.  One job they had was to place and level large machines that needed to be level within a couple thousandths of an inch from one end to the other.  Another notable job was at the American Railroad Test Center near Pueblo, Colorado.  The railroad companies would bring in test equipment from Chicago to test and it was Steve’s responsibility to move test cars that weighed up to 100 tons onto a U-shaped track that was about 300 feet long.  The train would rock back-and-forth until it came to a stop and this was done to test rails and ties.  Another job involved a simulator of a 100-car train that was meant to test brake systems.  They used a dynamometer to read the desired speed and then hit the brakes to see how long the pads would last.

     Steve now works as a maintenance mechanic repairing pumps, agitators and other equipment for a pharmaceutical company in Boulder, Colorado.

     So how did Steve get involved with FRAPA?  In 1991 Pat brought home a Westward magazine that contained an advertisement for Cider Days in Lakewood.  Steve saw the ad and wanted to see the show so he went, met the guys from FRAPA and joined the club.  At that time Steve owned a 1941 John Deere model B tractor.  That tractor was later sold to a childhood friend of Pat’s, Mike Konecne.  Mike disassembled the tractor for restoration but passed away prior to finishing the project.  Mike was also a friend of FRAPA member Bill Vetos.  Bill bought that tractor from Mike’s mother and then had it restored. 

     Steve has been a FRAPA board member for about nine years now.  He owns a 1948 John Deere B, an Allis Chalmers WD, a John Deere L, and an International LB stationary engine.  Steve likes all tractors but his favorite to drive is the John Deere.

     As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, Steve lives only a few blocks away from the house I grew up in.  My parents still live there and that is where the majority of our tractor collection is kept.  Since we joined FRAPA five years ago there have been a lot of trips to Steve’s on different tractors (and more than a few beverages consumed at the end of those trips!).  It’s a fun hobby we share and Steve is a great guy to share it with.  If you don’t know Steve, you should!

 

Until next time, enjoy the club!

 

                                                                                                       Submitted by Brandon Engelsman

 
 
 
 
Jim Engelsman
 
  Ok, so I chose to write this article about my dad.  But if it wasn’t for my dad, his history in farming, and a trip my family took to Bird City, Kansas in 2005, I wouldn’t be writing any of these articles!  In this article I may refer to him as “dad” or I may tell stories about “us” but for you I will try to stick with “Jim”.

     Jim was born in Norton, Kansas and grew up on a farm southwest of Prairie View, KS.  He attended school in Prairie View and graduated in a class of eight in 1964.

     Jim still owns the farm he grew up on and someday it will belong to his grandkids.  It was on this farm and numerous others in Phillips County that he learned to farm, operate and repair tractors and implements and where he was first bitten by the “tractor bug.”

     Jim’s dad had mostly International tractors including such models as Farmall H, M, 300 and later a 560.  He also had a Ford 8N.  Jim also farmed for a number of neighbors and ran John Deere and Case tractors.  Of all the tractors he ran, the popping of the 2-cylinder John Deere has always been his favorite.

     At 6’8” tall, Jim was recruited for the basketball team in high school.  His brother, Ken, was 6’4” and also played on that team.  In fact, in 1963 they were the tallest team in the state of Kansas!  Jim was offered a basketball scholarship to Northwestern State in Alva, Oklahoma and played there only one year because, unfortunately for the team, he never liked basketball!

     In 1965 he was set up on a blind date with Connie Myers.  Connie lived in Denver, Colorado but her family was also from the Prairie View area.  That relationship withstood the challenges of not only a blind date, but a long distance relationship.  Jim joined the army reserves in 1965 because he was too tall for regular army back then.  Then, in 1968, he married Connie (my mom).  They farmed around Prairie View for four years.  During that time Jim also worked for the county and delivered groceries for Van Diest Brothers.  In 1971 they had a daughter, Tamara.  Jim likes to tell people how Tamara used to stand by their house and wave at all of the trains going by!

     The next year they decided to move to Denver and in 1973 they had a son (me).  Jim began working for the Colorado Department of Highways where he remained employed until he retired as a Senior Foreman in 2002.  And while he lived in the city, Jim’s heart was always in the country.  On the road that runs from Prairie View to Denver is a little town of Bird City, Kansas.  Every year they have an Antique Engine and Thresher Show.  Jim started going to that show in 1995 and in 2005 he invited me, my girlfriend, and her son.  During the antique tractor parade it was mentioned that maybe we should get an old tractor.  A couple weeks later Jim found a 1948 John Deere G and we bought it.  Then we bought a 1952 John Deere A, then a Farmall Super C, then a Case C……  Then we realized we had caught some sort of tractor bug and to this day no cure has been discovered!

     In 2006 Jim joined FRAPA at the Westminster Mall show.  Larry Bauer walked the Engelsmans around and explained to them what the club was all about.  It was an easy club to get involved with and a couple years later Jim became a Board Member and still serves in that capacity today.

     The Engelsman collection of tractors has grown substantially since 2005 and so has the collection of implements, wagons, trailers, and sheds!  While his neighbors might look at Jim’s collection and describe it as junk he is quick to point out that what they see is “inventory”.  Lots and lots and lots of inventory.

     So, for the Engelsman family, FRAPA is not just an antique tractor and engine club, it’s also a support group!

 

Until next time, enjoy the club!

 

                                                                                                       Submitted by Brandon Engelsman

 

George Saxton

 

 

     In late 2009, the members of FRAPA elected George Saxton to be the new president of the club.  In six months time George has done a lot to help move our club in the right direction….forward!  For those of you that may not know George, let me tell you a little about him.

     George grew up on a farm about 7 miles outside of Ovid, Michigan where the family grew crops and livestock such as cattle, sheep, and hogs.  He attended the local one-room country school from kindergarten thru the eighth grade.  Believe it or not, George had the same teacher for all of those nine years!  In those nine years his class consisted of himself or one to two other boys.  There were no girls in his grade.  In high school George was very active in the FFA.  He was named State Farmer during his senior year and by 1966 he was doing a variety of things in the organization.  After high school George attended Michigan State University where he earned a degree in Agriculture.  During college George worked the night shift at the Michigan Milk Plant on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights from 10:00pm to 6:00am.  Then he would drive to East Lansing for 8:00am classes on Monday morning!  During the summers George worked for an uncle doing remodeling, and custom homes jobs.

     It was around this time that the state of Michigan came in and declared “eminent domain” to the family farm, and took the farm that had been in his family for over 100 years.  The state decided they needed another state park in that location.  Now the 2500-acre Sleepy Hollow State Park exists so that the city folks can have a place to play.

     After college George taught some high school Ag.  Then in January, 1970 he moved to Denver, Colorado.  He started building apartments here and on Memorial weekend, 1971 he met his wife, Bonnie.  Bonnie had recently returned from service in Vietnam where she was a nurse in the Army.  They were married later that year on New Year’s Eve in Salem, SD where Bonnie grew up.  In 1973 their, daughter Donielle was born.  This was a proud moment for Bonnie and George.

     In 1980 George started his own company, The Saxton Corporation.  This company does remodels and some custom home building.  (I’ve seen pictures and the work they do is beautiful!)

     Then one day George went to Burger King for lunch on South Federal and ran into a long-time FRAPA member, Wayne Parr.  Wayne had driven his unstyled John Deere tractor to lunch that day and was coming out of the restaurant when George saw him.  George asked Wayne if he could start his tractor for him and Wayne said yes.  He handed George one of his FRAPA business cards and George soon joined the club.  George later realized that a long-time business associate, Walt Staack, was also a member of FRAPA.  (Is there anyone, anywhere that doesn’t know Walt???)

     Growing up on the farm his family had an unstyled John Deere A and an unstyled John Deere B.  He currently owns a 1952 John Deere model M and is also restoring a 1948 John Deere model A.  The A came from Stonewall, Colorado where it was burned in a barn fire.  He picked the tractor up in the summer of 2009 and hopes to have the restoration project complete some time soon.  George’s interest lies more in the working activities of the club.  He likes to get his M out to plow and “get dirty”.  He prefers this to showing it.  With a laugh he told me, “If I scratch it, I’ll repaint it!”

     George likes to remind us that the club members run the club and it takes all of us to keep it going.  Because of this, he encourages us all to get involved.

 

Until next time, enjoy the club!

 

                                                                                                  Submitted by Brandon Engelsman                 





 RUSTY SIMMONS

 

I was born in 1947 in Pampa, Texas, 30 miles from the family farm in McLean.  I mostly stayed on the farm until leaving for college.  Since it was a small farm/ranch of 474 dry land acres, my Dad did a lot of the work except in the summer.  Hoeing cotton was my job then. I will always remember the sound of hoes being sharpened as I was waking up.  I knew what was in store.

The tractor thing hit me when I was 3 or 4.  I was waiting on the front porch for some reason when my dad drove up the lane in a new John Deere B.  The same tractor I have been working on this summer.  I don’t remember the Ford tractor the B replaced, but I have seen pictures of it.  My Dad wouldn’t let me drive the tractor except for brush cutting.  The row crop work was too precise for a kid my Dad thought.  It’s probably a good thing.  When he passed and I got the tractor it was complete with very few dents.  Also, I might add it had been well cared for sitting in the garage when the cars sat out. My wife tells me nothing has changed.

While in high school there wasn’t enough work on the farm to keep me there so I went on wheat harvest. The cutting didn’t last long so I got a job driving tractor in a northern panhandle town.  They weren’t as fussy as my father was about letting young kids drive their equipment.  Except for the Massey combines, it was all John Deere, first 620’s then 4010’s.  I thought I had died and gone to heaven.  There were six of the 4010’s and we were doing custom fertilizing.  We could finish ½ a section in less than a day.  When I came home Dad had a 3010 diesel.  Dad kept driving the B and I drove the 3010.

I started college at Texas Tech and pretty much blew the money I had saved as well as earning academic probation.  I had to have a job so I started working in a clothing store at Christmas and continued on through college eventually becoming a department manager and buyer.  Got myself a valuable business degree but I wanted to leave Texas (1970). 

I moved to Colorado to put the valuable business degree to work pounding nails.  After a time I was leading a crew, then I got kicked into purchasing.  The company didn’t last.  So I got another purchasing job at Eagle Claw fishing tackle.  From there I went to work again purchasing for an Englewood firm, Windsor Ind. They made floor cleaning equipment. There I was to stay for 27 years in various jobs.  I ended up as international sales manager. Did a lot of traveling, all over the planet, but didn’t see that much except hotels, airports, and customer facilities and maybe a few bars.

At the end, I could see the writing on the wall since the company was purchased by a larger German company. They seemed to think that if I did a good job it would cut into the parent company’s sales. Since I was not of retirement age I quit and started driving a local delivery truck for my ex-boss.  He had been pushed out the door of Windsor.  I chose to leave on my own volition.

Since retiring two years ago I don’t know when I had the time to work.  Now, Rinda, my wife wants to travel.  I played the “the tractor needs to be worked on” card enough so I may have to pack my bag.

Rusty 





 

 

 
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