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Archive for Wednesday, August 11, 2010

92-year-old who won first Vinland Fair tractor pull recalls passion for event

Max Moore sits on his 1950 Ferguson tractor after pulling it out of one of his barns on his farm north and west of Baldwin City Tuesday morning. Moore was undefeated on his favored Ferguson during the years he entered the Vinland Fair tractor pull. The 92-year-old will be there with it Friday to be recognized.

Max Moore sits on his 1950 Ferguson tractor after pulling it out of one of his barns on his farm north and west of Baldwin City Tuesday morning. Moore was undefeated on his favored Ferguson during the years he entered the Vinland Fair tractor pull. The 92-year-old will be there with it Friday to be recognized.

August 11, 2010

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When it comes to the Vinland Fair’s tractor-pull competition, no one can hold a candle to Max Moore.

Max Moore, 92, shown at his farm near Baldwin City, won the first tractor pull at the Vinland Fair in the early 1960s. "They gave me an old flour sack with 50 silver dollars in it," he said. "I've still got them."

Max Moore, 92, shown at his farm near Baldwin City, won the first tractor pull at the Vinland Fair in the early 1960s. "They gave me an old flour sack with 50 silver dollars in it," he said. "I've still got them."

Moore, who is 92 years old and still actively farms his 300 acres just north and west of Baldwin City, was on the fair board when the idea was hatched to have a tractor pull back in the early 1960s. He also won the first tractor pull with his Ford, but his favorite, the 1950 Ferguson, has a better record.

“I won the first one with the Ford, but this Ferguson has never been beaten in its weight class,” Moore said. “I’ve got a lot of trophies around here, but I can’t find them.”

He can find what he won that first year. It’s in a safety deposit box in the bank.

“They gave me an old flour sack with 50 silver dollars in it,” he said. “I’ve still got them. That was first prize.”

Moore doesn’t know what those silver dollars are worth today and “will probably never find out.” But he knows what his pride-and-joy Ferguson is worth.

103rd Vinland Fair Schedule

Thursday

2 p.m. — Old-time farm skills contest

6 p.m. — Baldwin High School band plays

6:30 p.m. — Talent show

7 p.m. — Rabbit and poultry show

7:30 p.m. — Alferd Packer Memorial String Band plays

Friday

10 a.m. — Stock bicycle races

Noon — Sack and other races, tug of war

7 p.m. — Antique tractor pull

7:30 p.m. — Wood Valley Packers Band plays

Saturday

9 a.m. — Horseshoe pitching contest

11 a.m. — Box turtle race and pet parade

2:30 p.m. — Pedal tractor pull

3:30 p.m. — Watermelon seed spitting contest

5 p.m. — Lawn and garden tractor driving skills competition

7 p.m. — Homemade ice cream making contest judging and serving

7:30 p.m. — Witness Band plays

Homemade food, including fruit pies, will be served throughout the three-day fair.

“Bought it new in 1950. Give $1,100 for that tractor,” he said. “In about 2000, I traded that off for a John Deere. We lost track of it. Mom (his wife, Doris) was never happy without her Ferguson. We went up to a farm sale in McLouth that had one on the sale bill. It was the same tractor.

“I said ‘I’m gonna take it back no matter what it cost,’” Moore said. “What it cost is $4,400, four times what I paid for it originally. It’s our carry-all and we use it about every day. I don’t think anyone can show me a tractor of any make that runs like this.”

Don’t believe it? Moore will have it at the fairgrounds for the opening of this year’s 103rd Vinland Fair. The antique tractor pull starts at 7 p.m. Friday. Moore will be recognized by the fair board — if the weather allows. It will be hot.

One member of the fair board who remembers Moore’s first win is Larry Craig. It wasn’t an antique tractor pull back then.

“Back there and then, we took them straight out of the field and pulled them,” Craig said. “The bigger the tractor, the more weight you pulled. He was very light. He had the draw bar set right. He probably had weight in his tires.

“He knew what he was doing,” he said. “I was just a kid.”

That “kid” remembers the old sled the competitors pulled. So does Moore. He and four others spent a whole night working on the sled before its first event.

“We welded the sled together from metal from the old Baldwin water tower,” Moore said.

Unlike the mechanized sled used today, the weight for the old sled was added as the tractor went down the course. At every “stake,” more weight was added. That weight was men and boys who had been weighed prior to the competition and jumped on the sled.

“It’s a wonder someone didn’t get killed,” Moore said.

Craig agreed.

“Nobody got hurt and we always wonder why,” he said.

Moore quit competing in the tractor pull many years ago after people started to “soup up” their tractors to win a trophy. Despite that, he’s not so sure his Ferguson still can’t get the job done.

“I might be able to beat everyone,” Moore said. “I had a lot of fun at those tractor pulls. Absolutely.”

Comments

riverdrifter 4 years, 4 months ago

Max and Doris: first class folks! See you at the fair. I remember one year my cousin and I had to jump on the sled at the exact same time because together we weighed an even 100 lbs.

50YearResident 4 years, 4 months ago

Mighty fine looking old Ferguson, it looks hardly used in those 60 years. I bet he still uses it on the farm.

lwhite 4 years, 4 months ago

What a great story! It's nice to read something that makes me smile, I went to a lot of tractor pulls in McLouth as a kid, great memories!

Flap Doodle 4 years, 4 months ago

Very nice story. How many tractors being made today will still be running in 60 years?

puddleglum 4 years, 4 months ago

you probably got a couple of hungry bearings in there,.

puddleglum 4 years, 4 months ago

This story is DOPE! I love it! So cool to read about such history and all.....I wish every story in the LJworld was about some form of motor-powered vehicles. GAWD how I wish we still had a dragstrip.... sigh....

puddleglum 4 years, 4 months ago

okay, wait-is this another one of those LJworld stories that comes out 10-minutes before the event? no, no-that's not right-I just read it late.....wow. first time for everything! and that's coming from the prettiest man in the state (probably country-but i don't wanna piss off anybody on a friday) but anyhow, I am very very good looking and many envy my beauty-that's okay, they don't realize how hard it is too be this pretty. people stare at me all the time, I hear women's eyeballs rotating, fixating upon me and sense the gravitational pull from their lust. It's tough, but I keep myself composed.

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