StettlerLocal.com June 13, 2023 at 7:35 pm
"People don't collect Masseys or Internationals," says Alf Erichsen. "They collect John Deere."
Erichsen, one of the coordinators of the upcoming John Deere Expo at the Stettler Town & Country Museum, is a veritable fount of knowledge when it comes to John Deere
The John Deere Company is nearly 190 years old, but this summer's Expo will commemorate 120 years of John Deere in the Stettler region. This event will be similar to Expos in the United States that are held about every five years.
Erichsen comes from a John Deere family. The Stettler Museum has a photograph from 1907 that shows his grandfather and great-uncle working in a field with John Deere equipment.
An uncle was involved in a John Deere dealership here in Stettler, and Alf himself started to work for the company when he graduated in 1965.
"People say I bleed green," he jokes.
The Expo here in Stettler will feature over 100 vintage John Deere tractors and more than 100 pieces of equipment and memorabilia. Tractors and equipment must be more than 50 years old, while some items will be over 120 years old.
"A lot of people have old tractors and want to show them," explains Erichsen.
Some of the 100+ year-old equipment to be featured include a buggy and grain wagon.
The idea of an Expo began about a year ago at the P&H Tractor Club from "too many old guys with too much time on their hands," says Erichsen.
He says the Expo will feature demonstrations of a 130 year-old(!) threshing machine, a horse-powered bailer, and the starting and running of various tractors.
All of this is more difficult than it appears, because restoring a tractor can take years. Erichsen says if the club is considering restoring a tractor or other equipment, the first thing they look at is the engine. Has it seized? Will it run? Parts are expensive and, in some cases, nearly impossible to obtain.
Naturally, tractors and equipment that have been kept inside have a much higher chance of being restored than equipment that has been languishing outside.
The 120 Years of John Deere Expo will run August 11-13 at the Stettler Town & Country Museum, and is a joint venture with the museum and the P&H Elevator Preservation Society. The weekend will also include a concession, children's activities, and other events.
Want to get involved? For John Deere equipment and displays, call Alf at 403-742-4688. To volunteer, call Wayne Nixon at 403-741-6129.