I have survived not one, but TWO John Deere 175th Anniversary events so far this month, one at the World Headquarters and one at John Deere Des Moines Works in Ankeny, IA.
I was a guest at one and a party planner at the other, so the experiences were a little different. I though coordinating speakers for 200 people at a time was lots of pressure till I got to coordinate the speaking for a show like this…
What do John Deere 175th Anniversary celebrations have in common?
For one thing, lots and lots of people. I heard it estimated that each event had over 10,000 people attend, and the event for Waterloo this summer and Harvester Works this fall are expected to be even bigger.
Both events had some great old machinery on display, too. I loaded galleries without much commentary on Google Plus and Facebook, and I’ll work on getting updates with the stories behind the pictures.
My favorite tractor from the World Headquarters event was this Waterloo Boy tractor. The steeringwas controlled by a chain, the engine ran on kerosine, and part of the floor looked suspiciously like an old board, but it was definitely a recognizable tractor.
Plus, my easily-sunburnt self appreciates any machine with an umbrella.
The part of me that was always lucky enough to run the newest equipment on photo shoots is just amazed to see how far technology has come since then. Then again, my dad likes to point out that things I take for granted were huge innovations in their day as well.
My favorite tractor on display was a John Deere 6030, which is a little surprising since it was set up right beside a good-looking 4020 tractor and I will always have a soft spot in my heart for one of them.
But look at the wheels on that bad boy! I didn’t get the specs on this particular machine (the downside to working the show) but the Series did get above 200 hp. Some of the tractors built in Waterloo now make that look small, but it had to be an absolute MONSTER when it rolled off the line.
Another great part of the events is that they were open to both current employees and retirees. I got a chance to talk with some of the engineers and welders who built the first machines at the Des Moines Works back in the early 50s.
It’s amazing (ok, and a little intimidating!) to think my stories of working at John Deere might sound like their stories some day….