May 2, 2017
Who knew how things would turn out when Husker Harvest Days organizers first gathered in fall 1977 to lay the groundwork for a gigantic outdoor farm show west of Grand Island that would open one year later in 1978?
Now, 40 years later, HHD has grown into the world's largest totally irrigated working farm show. That means that this fall's edition of HHD will be something special. As part of the 40th anniversary celebration for HHD, A.J. Boehler, Hastings, who organizes the antique farming equipment displays each year, along with several of his friends, have something unique in mind. As a member of the Platte Valley Antique Tractor and Machinery Association and the Central Nebraska Antique Tractor and Machinery Association, Boehler owns several restored antique tractors and a restored Ford pickup that he bought new in 1975. Putting that passion for antique farm machinery to work, Boehler and his group are planning to develop a special display along Flag Road at the main entrance of HHD between gates 2 and 3. So when visitors walk onto the show grounds from the parking lot, it will be as if they stepped back in time to 1978.
They are currently in the process of searching for vintage 1978 equipment that will adorn the HHD entrance road, so visitors this year will be treated to a true look at the past of agriculture before they take in everything that is new at the show. "There has really been a lot of interest from the antique tractor clubs around the state," Boehler says. "Just as an example of some of the unique items that are coming up, we will have an old electric Allis-Chalmers salesman combine display that a salesman would have taken along with him when visiting dealerships," he explains. "It is about 2 feet by 2 feet in size, and it lights up, showing farmers and dealers how grain would flow through a self-propelled combine. It's really a neat item."
Boehler says the location for the antique farming displays at HHD is perfect. "People can walk past the history of farming and see where we've been," he adds. "The old tractors and equipment bring back memories for most people, and the younger folks enjoy seeing that machinery, too." If you know of vintage 1978 farm equipment that would be available for display at HHD, you can contact Boehler at 760-861-3941.
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