Local John Deere Collection On Display
(Le Mars) -- (nat sfx) There's no mistaking the distinctive sound of a two-cylinder John Deere tractor... and this particular John Deere tractor is from a 1929 John Deere D, owned by the David Hawkins family of rural Plymouth County. Hawkins past away last summer, but his passion was collecting antique tractors and other farm implement pieces. Judy Hawkins says her late husband started his collection in the 1970's and had collected over 140 different tractors and more than 100 other farm related equipment. Speaking about that 1929 John Deere D...Judy Hawkins says that was the first tractor that started the collection, and as Judy points out, the tractor had some sentimental factors.
Hawkins says among the 140 plus tractors, her husband's favorite was that first one that was previously owned by David Hawkins' father. 24 year old Alex Popken is the grandson of David Hawkins. He says his grandfather's passion rubbed off on to him as he assisted with the restoration of the antique tractors.
Popken says his grandfather liked to have a complete line of makes and models of the popular green and yellow tractors.
The oldest tractor in the collection is a 1925 John Deere D, complete with the steel wheels. Beside it is a new 2012 John Deere 6210R series. Popken says the restoration process for each tractor would usually take between four to six months to complete, depending on the condition and availablity of parts. Judy Hawkins says previous times when the family displayed the farm equipment they would see upwards of 600 people come to enjoy the antique tractor display. She says people are amazed when they see the collection.
In addition to the tractors, visitors can see a line up of threshers and combine harvesters, sickel mowers, cultivators, and planters.
The Hawkins family are holding an open house through the weekend allowing the public the opportunity to view the collection of antique tractors and equipment. However, this will be the last time the public can view this unique display. A year from now, the family will hold an auction selling most of the collection. The open house is from 9:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m located at 10313 Nature Avenue. From Le Mars, follow Highway 75 north for six miles to County road C-12. Turn right and go east for three miles to Nature Avenue. Turn left on Nature Avenue and go three-fourths of a mile. There are signs posted to help guide you.
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