Woerner's first tractor
was a Massey
Mitch Woerner has owned lots of tractors in his life time but the first tractor he ever owned was a Massey 44.
"I was working for the Massey dealer in Superior and in 1952 I bought my first tractor, a Massey 44," said Mitch. At the time Mitch was farming and also had a custom fertilizing service.
"My son, Arnold, bought this Massey 44 tractor at an auction and I bought it from him," said Mitch. This past winter he cleaned it up, replaced the plugs, points, distributor, muffler, fan belt, moved the tires from another tractor, and painted it. The steering wheel is original.
"I helped clean off the grease on the tractor and painted the rims with a hand brush," said Mitch's wife Cheryl.
Mitch also has a little 231 diesel Massey, which he uses with a rotary mower and tiller. In the winter he uses it to move snow in Mankato.
To date, Mitch has restored a total of 13 tractors and is not partial to Massey's.
"I really like Oliver tractors," said Mitch.
His restoration projects are done during the winter months. This year he hopes to continue the work in his shop located beside his Mankato home. Just recently Mitch acquired a John Deere D and which he said it needs a lot of work. Mitch and Cheryl also have Grandad's 930 Case.
Mitch and Cheryl own a 60 Oliver, 70 Oliver, 88 Oliver which was bought new by Mitch's dad, Mitchell Woerner, in 1948, an 80 Oliver and a 99 Oliver. Also in their possession is a 50 John Deere and a M John Deere which has never had a wrench on it. An International Farmall M which Cheryl's dad, Arthur Cockroft, bought new in 1946, and a Farmall HX2.
"I also owned a Farmall F12 and sold it, I didn't like it. I had sent my wife to an auction to buy the tractor because I couldn't go and she bought it," said Mitch.
"When I started bidding the men were really staring at me, I got the tractor bought cheaper than what Mitch told be to spend," said Cheryl.
The older tractors are becoming harder and harder to find. Mitch thinks it is because there are more people restoring the tractors. Speaking from experience he said, "Before a person can start the restoration process they really need to look at what they have to start with. The first step is to get the tractor running and decide what to do from there which usually consists of at the least scraping grease, power washing, sanding and then starting the painting process."
"You have to have something to start with to begin restoring," said Mitch.
"I would really like to find a CC Case which is what my dad started out farming with. But that is so long ago the tractors are to far gone or they want more than I want to give for them," said Mitch.
Is he a collector of tractors?
"This is my hobby. I like to collect toy iron tractors," said Mitch.
'plow day' to be held this weekend
An old fashioned Plow Day will be held Friday Saturday and maybe Sunday in Jewell County.
Friday, individuals are invited to plow at the Joe Eilert farm four miles west of Jewell, two miles south and a half mile east. Plowing will start around 9 a.m. and run until 4 or 5 p.m. or until the acreage has been plowed. Participants are asked to bring their own tractors and plows.
"This is the first time for a Plow Day in Jewell County so I don't know what to expect," said organizer Calvin Bohnert. There could be lots of participants and maybe there will be just a few. Jr. Vander Giesen, Smith Center, has helped Calvin organize the day.
How does a Plow Day work. Individuals bring tractors older than 1960 and their plows and come to the designated field to have a day of plowing. At the end of the day the farmer who owned the field, in this case Joe Eilert, will provide those that plowed his field with a free meal.
Saturday and Sunday in conjunction with the Jewell County Threshing Bee a Plow Day will be held at the Dwight Thronson field located one and a half miles south of Mt. Hope Cemetery on the west side of the road.
"The Plow Day south of Mankato will be held both days following the parade and tractor pull at the Jewell County Threshing Bee so individuals can participate in all events if they wish," said Calvin. There is only 40 acres to plow so it depends on how many show up to plow as to whether the event will last one day or two.
"You know Kansas. If we get to plow on these days the weather will have to cooperate," said Calvin.
A Farmall W6 and a 316 McCormick plow will be used by Calvin. He also plans to bring an A John Deere and a Case plow, and also his grandfather's Farmall C and John Deere 214 plow.
"There is no charge for this, it is just for fun. We are given the opportunity to just plow the ground," said Calvin.
If a plow is needed call Calvin ahead of time at 785-738-7589.
For those of who don't know the country, in your travel to the Plow Day watch for the tractor with a bucket on the front end displaying the American Flag flying high. Spectators are welcome.
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