Prairie Reapers plan tractor pull, parade during Nobles County Fair this week
Tractor pull is Thursday evening in the grandstand; parade is Friday afternoon.
WORTHINGTON — It’s the year of the International, and the local Prairie Reapers tractor fanatics will have plenty of them — and other tractors — out and about at the Nobles County Fair in Worthington this week.
The International tractors will be the featured display near the grandstand, but all makes and models of tractors and their drivers are welcome to compete in an antique tractor pull, slated to begin at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in front of the grandstand.
According to Prairie Reapers’ Norm Rehborg, people can still register to participate in the tractor pull by calling him at (507) 360-5951.
The Prairie Reapers will also showcase their tractors in the second annual tractor ride, slated to begin at 1 p.m. Friday from the fairgrounds. The route will have participants driving their tractors by Crossroads Care Center, the Meadows, Golden Horizons and South Shore Care Center, as well as around Lake Okabena. Rehborg said anyone with a tractor is welcome to participate in the tractor ride, and encourages tractors and drivers to line up at the fairgrounds just prior to the 1 p.m. parade start.
Among those participating in the tractor parade is David Kanten, a rural Fulda collector of International tractors. He has five of them, though only four are driven on a regular basis.
Kanten is so enthusiastic about Internationals that his white-colored house features red trim, complete with an IH-emblemed wooden barn quilt hanging on the east side to welcome visitors.
Kanten’s dad had International tractors, and his own collection began nearly 30 years ago when he purchased a 1938 F20 from the tractor salvage in Worthington.
“A guy brought it to the tractor salvage and they didn’t want it,” Kanten recalled. “The clutch didn’t work and it didn’t start. I drug it home and got it started in five minutes.”
Since his wife’s birthday was around that time, he said it was her birthday present. While that went over “like a ton of bricks,” she eventually told him that if it was her birthday present, he needed to get it painted and looking nice for her.
His second International tractor also came from the tractor salvage — a 1951 H with a bad motor. He got a different block, redid the motor and had that tractor running in about six months.
Then, when Loren and Judy Stevens had their farm sale south of Worthington in 2014, Kanten added a 1956 B International to his collection.
“It ran, but it was a bit banged up,” he shared. “I tore it down and put new seals in it.”
At the time, his granddaughter Olivia said she’d like a tractor, so the ’56 has her name on it.
“That’s pretty much my parade tractor,” Kanten said, noting that it has an extra seat and steering wheel, which is quite unusual. It’s also the lightest tractor in his line-up, making it easier to haul to parades.
A 1971 656 Hydro was purchased in Iowa with a bad hydro. Kanten fixed it up and used it for cutting and baling when he still had horses. It also has a snowblower attachment, which he uses during particularly harsh Minnesota winters.
And finally, there’s the 1946 M with an American road grader attachment made by American Machinery Co. of Omaha, Nebraska.
“It’ll run, but I haven’t run it in about three years,” Kanten said.
Some of the tractors have participated in Prairie Reapers events, and Kanten has also traveled to National Red Power Round-Up with them — going to Nashville, Tennessee and Montgomery, Alabama, as well as to events in Missouri, Wisconsin, South Dakota and throughout Minnesota.
Kanten is a longtime member of the Prairie Reapers, which marks its 36th anniversary this year. The group is always looking to expand its membership with tractor enthusiasts. For more information, see members of the Prairie Reapers at the fair this week.