Half Century of Progress opening day

Local News

RANTOUL, Ill (WCIA)– As some are looking forward to the future of farming others are taking a step back in ag history. Thursday was the first day of the Half Century of Progress show in Rantoul. People from all over the country bring their tractors.

Green, red, even pink tractors line acres of the Chanute Airforce Base in Rantoul. Roger Case and his cousin traveled from Lancaster Wisconsin to spend time looking at tractors that bring back memories for them.

“We wanted to see this show because this is the vintage of equipment we grew up riding and driving and learning how to run,” Case says.


All built at least 50 years ago. It’s a way for the men and women who grew up using the equipment to reminisce on those times.

“Just about any machine out here you can look at it and say wow that really looks old. well, it is,” JC Reitmeier explains.

One of the organizers John Fredrickson says that’s the exact reason it all got started in the first place.

“It’s kind of a history lesson. we enjoy seeing all the old equipment we grew up on and our fathers and grandfathers used, John Fredrickson says.

Especially since it might not be seen anywhere else, because of newer technology you may not see a tractor like this one out working in the fields anymore. Nine years in and they’re getting some positive feedback.

“Since Barnum and Bailey’s circus isn’t around anymore we’re the greatest show on earth. I’ve heard that. People have said that” Reitmeier says. “We want to keep the heritage of farming alive. Farming is changing. We just want to keep the small farmer the way it used to be fifty-sixty years ago.”

People travel from around the country just to share their piece of history.

“I’ve talked to some guys yesterday they came from North Carolina with about four or five plows. they came to plow,” Reitmeier explains.

People keep coming back because the experience is something they treasure.

“They just want to see it. They want to be involved. they love to do it, Reitmeier.
Organizers say they like having people come from all over the country. But they want to share this with the local communities too.

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