Antique tractors at 3i celebrate farming’s history

An antique tractor from 1959 on display
An antique tractor from 1959 on display

DODGE CITY, Kan. (KSNW) — The 62nd annual 3i Show kicks off in Dodge City on Thursday. Ag industry workers from 33 states will show off their innovative ideas and technology.

Farmers are embracing technology to push the boundaries of what the ag industry can do. Drones and other cutting-edge technology are on display this week, but that doesn’t mean farmers have forgotten their past.

“Who would have ever though that you’d have an auto-drive tractor or you’d have a GPS system that did all these things,” said Eddie Estes, an organizer of 3i. “They’re talking now about autonomous tractors, too. Cabless tractors, that type of thing. Who knows what’s next?”

But through the show’s 62 years, antique equipment has been a staple.

Farmers bring in their decades-old tractors to celebrate the history of the state’s largest industry.

“It seems to me now everything is going so fast,” said Estes. “Everything is going so fast that we forget where we came from.”

Emery Ball has a fleet of antique tractor’s he’s fixed up, but he’s brought a very special one to the show.

“It’s a 1936 co-op, made by the Duplex company,” said Ball. “They only made these for four years.”

Duplex only made the model for four years because World War II interrupted production. For ball, it’s more than a tractor, it’s a piece of history.

“That is a very important thing,” said Ball, “to see the past, what the old farmers used to have to do and where, where farm equipment has come today, and appreciate the new equipment.”

Some of that new equipment comes with air conditioning or televisions, but you won’t see that on the antiques, like one belonging to KSN’s John Jenkinson. It’s originally from 1959. He uses it to mow his lawn when he’s not showing it off at the 3i show.