Saturday, January 8, 2011

2011 Feature Announced

It's Big, Blue, and Born in Iowa!  The Kinze 640 tractor, also known as "Big Blue", and "Double Trouble".   Built in 1974 to test a 13 bottom plow developed in a joint effort by Kinze and DMI, the 640 appeared at the Farm Progress Show that year.  The big tractor was constructed using two John Deere 5020's repowered with Detroit Diesel engines at 320 horsepower each.  With two engines to synchronize, and two independent transmissions to shift, the articulated tractor was soon nicknamed "Double Trouble".

The tractor will appear at the 2011 Half Century Of Progress V at Rantoul, Illinois August 25-28, 2011, and will likely be plowing in the field.  This will be the first public appearance of the big tractor since 1988.

Keep looking for more announcements concerning additional feature presentations at the show.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Half Century Of Progress V Announcement

I have heard that the show features for the 2011 Half Century of Progress V event will be announced Saturday January 8, 2011 in This Week In Agribusiness with Orion Samuelson and Max Armstrong.  The show airs on RFD-TV at 7AM CST on Saturday, 5AM &8PM on Sunday, and again at 8AM on Monday (all times are CST)  Please tune in for this important announcement!  From the hints I've gotten, it will be an outstanding event.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Why There Is No Show In 2010

We get a lot of questions about the 2010 show, or the next show anyway.  Half Century Of Progress is a biennial event that coincides with the Illinois appearance of the Farm Progress Show which alternates between Illinois and Indiana.

In preparation for the 2003 50th Anniversary edition of the Farm Progress Show a "pre-show" of vintage and antique tractors and equipment was created.  The 2003 FPS also returned to Vermilion County, Illinois, at Henning, only a few miles from the first show site at Armstrong, Illinois.  The event was so successful, especially with the rain shortened FPS, that a second edition was scheduled for 2005.  Without getting into a lot of details, and agreement was reached with the Village of Rantoul to hold the event at the Rantoul National Aviation Center, aka the former Chanute Air Force Base.

The success of the 2005 event led to a longer term agreement between the I&I Antique Tractor Club and  the Village of Rantoul. Succeeding events in 2007 and 2009 built on that success, and the steady growth of the event.  The biennial format also allows greater preparation time for the events.

So, the Half Century Of Progress event will be back in odd numbered years so mark your calendars and make your plans!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Big Bud on the pulling track

Big Bud 16V-747 hit the puling track Saturday night at the show, effortlessly pulling two weight transfer sleds out the end of the track.  According to one report, the behemoth motored down the track, slipping a little as it hit the soft soil at the end of the track, only to speed up as it hit the sod. 

The second sled was pulled with a length of high strength chain used in the 2005 record setting 60 bottom plow action.  Though it's hard to see details in the video, the first sled is a historic piece of machinery itself.  It is one of the first, if not the first ever weight transfer sleds.  Built in the mid 1960's, it made tractor pulling a safer and more consistent activity.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Big Bud At Fargo Scales

I found this YouTube video of Big Bud 16V747 at the weigh scales in Fargo,North Dakota.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Big Bud Is Here!

Big Bud 16V747 arrived in Rantoul mid afternoon July 2, the trip was long, but safe. A crowd of fans was on hand to welcome the big tractor on it's visit to Illinois.

Monday, June 29, 2009

All a-Twitter about Big Bud

Big Bud 747 is on it's way to Illinois, and you can follow it's journey with updates on the short message site Twitter. You can find the updates at

Tonight, Monday June 29, Big Bud is bedded down for the night in Bismarck, North Dakota.

Monday, February 16, 2009

"Legends Of Time" Updates

The "Friends of John Deere" committee is announcing that Harold Brock is planning to attend. Harold worked at Henry Ford before going to John Deere. He developed the POWER-SHIFT TRANSMISSION for John Deere. He is looking forward, if his health remains good, to be there to answer questions. He will be in the John Deere Tent.

There will also be three of the John Deere engineers, if their health remains good, who helped develop the 8010-8020 Tractor there for you to talk to. It is the "50 Year Celebration" of the Tractor. The Seminar on the Pony Motor of the Two-Cylinder Diesel Tractor by Earl Seamands is still being planned, day and time will be announced later.

Above is a picture of the 1/32 scale 8010 4-wheel-drive-articulated tractor with the F180 8-bottom plow that may be purchased at the Show. A limited number will be available. If you are interested and want to order before the show, please contact Darrel Fischer (815) 383-4367. The price of the tractor and plow will be $85.00.

Many Thanks to Marilyn Moore for this update.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

McCormick Named Premiere Sponsor

McCormick International, USA has been named the Premiere Sponsor of the 2009 show. Thanks to their generous sponsorship, the Big Bud feature will become a reality. McCormick will also be donating the use of several tractors at the showgrounds.


The famous Big Bud 16v-747, the world's largest farm tractor is coming to the 2009 Half Century Of Progress IV! Not just on static display, the tractor will be at work plowing in the fields at the show. The crew will be assembling a special plow for the event, possibly as large as 30 bottoms to give the behemoth something to play with.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

FFA Progress Expo - 2008

The first FFA Progress Expo was held September 4th and 5th on the Half Century site. Four hundred fifty two FFA members from 18 schools participated in the rain plagued event. Plans to harvest corn and soybeans were canceled due to rain, and some classes were moved to Grissom Hall ( Special thanks to airport manager Bill Clayton for helping with the last minute arrangements).

Students attended classes on soil judging, yield calculations, farm safety, GPS technology, and other areas on interest. A tractor operators contest was held both days. The event was well recieved by the students and their instructors.

FFA Progress Expo's will be held in even numbered years when there is no Half Century of Progress Event. Members of the FFA Organization, (formerly known as Future Farmers of America) are students in vocational agriculture programs in high schools. Over the years, FFA has, in combination with the dedicated vo-ag instructors, helped not only "future farmers", but leaders in agribusiness, agricultural education, and even non-ag related fields get the education, skills, and experience they needed to excel in their chosen endeavors.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

John Deere Secondary Event

I received this from Marilyn Moore a few days ago.

John Deere Friends and John Deere Clubs will gather for the "Legends of Time" in Rantoul, IL during the Half Century of Progress IV, August 27-30, 2009.,
  • You will see a fully mounted 8 bottom Plow working. This will be the largest gathering of 8010's ever.
  • A 1/32 Show Tractor 8010 with a plow or just the Tractor may be purchased.
  • A Seminar on repairing the starting Pony Motor on the Diesel Tractor will be presented by Earl Seamands in the John Deere Tent.
  • A Raffle with First prize as a Child's Wagon, with side boards, loaded down with John Deere merchandise for Mom, Dad and Child, Second Prize will be a Child's Pedal Combine, and Third prize will be a beautiful decorated JD Tool Box with John Deere Tools.
  • John Deere Merchandise Internet Store will be in the tent.
  • Show T-Shirt will be available soon.
Contact Persons: Dean Blackford, (217) 841-5914, Darrel Fischer,(815) 383-4367, and Earl Seamands,(217) 586-3604.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

2009 Show News and Talk

Half Century Of Progress IV - August 27-30, 2009

The Half Century Of Progress organizing committee has been meeting and making a lot of progress in planning the 2009 event. I have heard there are some big plans in the work, but all details are closely guarded at this time.

As in past events, the main focus of the event is to get the old equipment out in the field and working as it was intended, so expect plenty of action in the fields. In each of the past shows, the variety and scope of equipment has increased, so expect even bigger things this time.

Secondary Events
The previously announced "Legends Of Time" John Deere feature will be one of the secondary events at the show.

There is nothing official, but word is going around that Ford tractor collectors are working on plans to have a big gathering at the show as well.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

2009 Half Century Of Progress IV-Early Announcements

This is the first of several secondary events to be announced for the 2009 event.

First Corn In 2008

The first corn harvested in 2008 in the Rantoul area was on the Half Century of Progress grounds. The late planted corn for the cultivating demonstrations was harvest shortly after New Years, the moisture was high, and the yield wasn't great, but it was the first!