January Featured Collector

Jim Ryan has 5 sons and 14 grandchildren, and none of them live on a farm. But he wants them to have a little taste of what it was like in earlier times and that is why he got involved with old iron and the skills it took to operate it back then. It is his way of passing something on to them and other young people.

Jim, who lives in Friend, NE with his wife Sharon, grew up on the farm, but left it to work in agricultural sales, ultimately owning his own business jointly with his brother. Each had a son working along with them and those sons are now carrying on the family firm. Jim’s dad was a dairy farmer in southeast Minnesota and was a Minneapolis Moline man through and through. Although Jim had experience with many tractor brands through the years, when he started to think of hobby, Moline’s surfaced as his true interest.

He bought a 1952 BF Moline in 1996 and spent the next four years restoring it. It was very similar to the BF he drove cultivating corn and beans for his father. Then he added a 3-pt 2-14 Moline plow to go with the BF. Later he was motivated to make a Dodge pickup into a Moline “dealer truck” after seeing a 1/16 scale replica of an early 50’s model Dodge pickup detailed as a dealer truck in a farm magazine. He found a ’54 Dodge pickup in decent condition and spent 2 years making it into his dealer truck. Somewhere along the way he acquired a tandem-wheeled trailer and painted it to match. One of the neat things Jim really enjoys is hooking the truck, trailer and tractor together and taking off to a show or parade. Each trip is an adventure and he always tries to make lots of stops so people can look over his coordinated equipment.

Jim joined the Elkhorn Valley Antique Power Assn. because it was just getting organized and that made it interesting. The club had a sawmill that had been moved into place and restored but was not used much. He thought it would make a good demonstration if the club could get the mill to operate reliably; along with some dedicated fellow club members he has spent untold hours traveling to distant places to learn all he could about the saw mill operation. In the past few years he and his friends have put on more than 30 demonstrations a year, sawing more than 200 logs while doing daylong demonstrations.

Recently Jim bought a 1934 KTA Minneapolis Moline that will be his next project. He hopes to find a 2-16 or 3-14 wheel-lift Moline plow to go along with it and hopes to have it ready for plowing events in late 2005. Jim looks at everything as a great learning experience and has had a lot of fun doing it. And Jim’s grandchildren have learned a lot and have a great deal more to look forward to!


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