By Kristen Miller
WRIGHT COUNTY, MN The Wright County Fair Board is excited to be hosting the national Minneapolis-Moline Collectors Summer Show, Thursday, Aug. 5 through Saturday, Aug. 7, during the fair.
“It’s very much an honor,” said Ray Schmidt, chair of the antique tractor committee with the fair board.
Schmidt describes Minneapolis-Moline as a tractor company that was “ahead of its time.”
In 1929, Moline Implement Company, the Minneapolis Steel and Machinery Company, and the Minneapolis Threshing Machine Company were combined under one name, Minneapolis-Moline.
In 1963, Minneapolis-Moline was acquired by White Motor Company, which also bought out Cockshutt and Oliver tractor companies and moved operations to Charles City, IA.
Today, the Minneapolis-Moline Collectors “exists for the preservation and enjoyment of the products,” as well as, exchanging information among members, and educating the public on the company’s history.
Every year, the collectors have a winter and summer show drawing hundreds of Minneapolis-Moline and Oliver tractors and visitors.
This year’s summer show will be in conjunction with the Wright County Fair and will take place at the fairgrounds in Howard Lake.
Schmidt estimates the show will bring in 5,000 to 10,000 more visitors throughout the fair this year than in previous years at the fair.
Rich Otto of Delano is the director and merchandise chairman for the Minneapolis-Moline Collectors. With 800 members in the club, Otto anticipates more than 200 tractors will come for the event from all across the US.
This is also the first time the collectors have had an annual show in conjunction with a fair, Otto said.
The fair board has had to make “considerable expansion plans” at the fairgrounds in order to accommodate for the additional visitors and exhibitors.
More roads have been added to west and northwest side of the grounds, along with more parking and exhibit space, Schmidt explained.
In addition, the fair is also going to provide camping areas for the Minneapolis-Moline exhibitors.
As part of the event, there will be a daily parade at 10 a.m., where collectors can drive their tractors through the grounds.
The Northland Oliver Collectors Association will also be doing daily demonstrations throughout the fair including threshing, corn shredding, silage cutting and baling. There will also be an antique tractor pull.
Wes Robertson of Cokato is a member of the Minneapolis-Moline Collectors and is excited that the summer show is coming to the Wright County Fair.
Robertson has downsized his collection, but still owns 20 tractors from the former Minnesota-based company.
“It’s a big deal,” Robertson said.
The Wright County Fair begins Wednesday, Aug. 4 and continues through Sunday, Aug. 8.