Antique Tractor Preservation Day was established in Howell County

What started as a hobby project has grown exponentially into something much more rewarding for Michael Hinton and family of West Plains, Mo., in central Howell County. “I always wanted an antique tractor, so when I got the chance to buy a 1949 Farmall Cub, I took the chance,” he explained.
And according to his wife Tonya, that’s just what it was. “My dad is an antique tractor collector and Michael has always had an interest in them,” she said. “But when he bought his first in 2008, it required some work, and the more work he and my dad put into it, the more they found wrong with it.”
“I spent all my free time searching the internet and trying to locate parts for repair and information about tractor history and restoration,” he said. “I searched, clicked and linked from site-to-site. I realized during this process it would have been nice to have one online source to go to who would give me the links and information I needed.
“So I basically took all the sites and information I learned about and put it together in the website I had taken the time and effort to locate this information during my restoration process, and thought it would be helpful to create a website that others could reference,” he said. It became a family project with his wife Tonya and daughter Melissa assisting.
From those humble beginnings, was born. It wasn’t long after, traffic at the site increased globally and Michael could see possibilities. “I worked with the Ozark Heritage Welcome Center and the City of West Plains and included a link to their webpage on our site. There was no reason people couldn’t learn about antique tractors and see the great Ozarks where my family and I call home,” he added proudly.
As a member of the Tourism Development Advisory Council, Michael understood the great attraction of the Ozarks and what people were looking for when searching the internet about the area. “Now we have links to the Welcome Center, Ozark Radio Network, AgriMo, and others that help people learn about our area.
“Building the site with this information is a way for me and my family to give back to West Plains and the community. helps to promote tourism and build economic development. People researching West Plains and the area can find the site and learn another little aspect we have to offer,” he said.

His tractors
“I always wanted a tractor and now have two as part of my collection,” he chuckled. “It was mid-2008 when I bought the Cub. Once it was in restored condition, I wanted another.”
Twelve months later, Michael bought a 1942 Farmall H sight-unseen from a couple in Aplington, Iowa.

The event
“After we got the website kicked off in March 2010, I started contact with the governor’s office about a proclamation for Antique Tractor Preservation Day. Through the discussion of the proclamation with the Ozark Heritage Welcome Center and the City of West Plains, we decided we should have an event for antique tractors,” he recalled.
This is where Antique Tractor Preservation Day was born. “We realized with recognition from the governor, an event would just get that many more people to town to learn about the area as well as tractors.
“From the beginning my goal was to help out the communities of the area and make more people aware of what we have to offer,” he said. “We continually receive hits on the website from all over the globe and our event helped bring people to West Plains.”
On Sept. 23, 2010 Antique Tractor Preservation Day was celebrated at the fairgrounds in West Plains. Nearly 40 tractors were brought for the show and came from Thayer, Cabool and even some from out of state. “It was great. We read the proclamation, tractor enthusiasts got the chance to meet others and people came to town and learned about the area,” he added.
In 2011, they received a proclamation from the state again, Mayor Joe Paul Evans signed a proclamation for the city of West Plains for the same date and it was read in to the congressional record that day. The U.S. Post Office also commemorated Antique Tractor Preservation Day with a special pictorial postmark. “I still have aspirations to obtain a national proclamation for Antique Tractor Preservation Day,” Michael said. “It is something that would be rewarding to the antique tractor enthusiast community, as well as serve to remind about our nation’s farm machinery heritage, while also providing further visibility to West Plains, the Ozarks and the state of Missouri.”
“All of this has been a win-win,” he said. “We’ve brought awareness to antique tractors and given collectors a forum to share information, as well as directed people to the wonderful things and people West Plains and the Ozarks have to offer.”


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