The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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January 23, 2013

BICKER: Farm show brings out love of tractors

CLINTON — On Sunday, one of my wildest dreams finally came true. I had the pleasure of attending the QC Farm and Equipment Show at the QCCA Expo Center in Rock Island, Ill.

It was a magical moment because, for the first time in my life, I had the opportunity of stepping up into a brand new Case tractor. You have to admit, there is just something beautiful about a girl and her tractor. My boyfriend, Mike, and I had this event marked on our calendars for months. So, when Sunday came we were fired up to see what the show had to offer.

When we walked into the center, we bumped into his brother, Davy, and nephew, Brandon, who took me on a tour. But, first and foremost, Brandon took me over to the Case tractors so I could try one on for size. It felt really good to climb into the cab. Sitting in the cab, smelling the fresh leather, reminded me of riding in my grandpa’s Case tractor many, many years ago. I could almost hear his voice and the crackling of the farm report on his radio.

Even though it was hard to tear myself away from the tractor, Brandon continued his tour. Thanks to him, I managed to score a free hat to add to my collection. I love wearing baseball caps — especially when I’m working outside in my garden. So, this will definitely come in very handy.

As Brandon and I walked past different vendors, we came upon some local Case dealers that were selling some merchandise. I got very excited when I spotted some die-cast tractors in a far corner. I started to hear a chorus sing, “Hallelujah, Hallelujah.”

I started collecting die-cast tractors a long time ago primarily because my grandmother did. My grandmother had seven tractors lined up in her living room for each one of us grandkids. Since she died, it has been my goal to find the ones she had. I’ve been successful in finding some but not all of them. I’ve also bought a few more she didn’t have in her collection including an Allis Chalmers, Cub Cadet riding lawn mower, International and an old-fashioned pump. My tractors are on display in my kitchen among chicken figurines and a framed picture with two little boys that say, “Been farming long?” I absolutely love my tractors if you couldn’t tell. I guess you could say there are a lot of good memories behind them.

After Brandon and I admired all of the tractors on display, we focused our attention on the new Bobcat sitting nearby, which we both climbed into. It was a lot fancier than the one my grandpa used on his farm. It had everything — a radio, windshield wipers and heat and air conditioning. Wow, how things have changed.

Brandon and I then checked out the Case IH utility vehicles. Now, these were really up my alley. I could definitely see myself riding around Klucker Farms in one of those. This little baby would be a great asset when cleaning out the coop to hauling produce out of my garden — particularly acorn squash and watermelons. And better yet, I would look really cool driving one. I think a Klucker Farms logo on the back would be the icing on the cake.

I suppose I’m a little different than most women when it comes to my likes and dislikes. The last thing I’m sure most women would probably want would be a tractor or utility vehicle. Let me tell you, I would much rather have one of those than a closet full of cute shoes. Just give me a pair of work boots and I’m a happy woman.

After Brandon completed his tour, I met up again with Mike and we walked around a little bit more before leaving and heading back to Klucker Farms. Before we left, Mike bought me an early Valentine’s Day gift — a couple tractor T-shirts and two McCormick Farmall bumper stickers. How lucky can a girl get? My favorite shirt, however, has to be the one with a weathervane on it with, you guessed it, a chicken on top of it. If he’s lucky enough, I might just wear that when we go out for Valentine’s Day.

Even though I really enjoyed myself at the farm show, I was a little disappointed that there was nothing for chicken farmers. My spirits were dampened a little bit when I didn’t see any cool chicken houses on display; I guess there’s always next year.

All in all, attending the farm and equipment show was a great experience. I guess it must have made a big impact on me since I’ve been counting tractors at night instead of sheep.

Angie Bicker has been employed with the Clinton Herald since 2001. She can be reached at angiebicker@clintonherald.com.

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