showing off some farm history in Tracy

TRACY – Tractors and machinery of all ages, shapes and colors were on display at Wheels Across the Prairie Museum in Tracy over the weekend. We normally see green or red tractors in the fields across southwest Minnesota, but a spectrum of historic implements were on display during the town’s annual Box Car Day celebration.

Rows of orange Allis-Chalmers, green Olivers and even a gray Ford were present at the antique tractor show, including a handful of not-often-collected yellow Minneapolis-Moline tractors. Ray Randall brought eight of the Minnesota-made tractors to the show in Tracy. He said he has restored them himself and collects them because “they’re what I grew up with and what we used.”

Randall, from Le Sueur, was helping weigh contestants’ machinery during the antique tractor pull Sunday afternoon. He said the tractors he owns are not the original machines that he farmed with, but that he bought models similar to the ones he used to operate.

Closer to the museum, Mylan Larson of Currie stood next to a large whirring engine, explaining its past uses to a group of people visiting the Tracy area. Larson said that he has 20 engines that he has restored or is in the process of restoring. He brought his favorite, a 1914 Stickney that was made in St. Paul to the event to demonstrate how it was used in the past.

“It would have been used for grinding corn, sawing wood or been set up in a factory to run a lathe or other machinery,” Larson said as he pointed out a place on the flywheel where a flat-belt pulley could be hooked up.

“It’s a lot like the engine in your car,” Larson said, “except there’s not computers hooked up to it, and it’s only one cylinder.”

The engine runs on gasoline, and Larson gestured toward familiar engine components, such as the Stickney’s radiator, carburetor and ignitor.

“It’s a rare engine, and it runs real nice,” Larson said.