2009-10-15 / Front Page

The “Prairie Gold Rush’’ Returns To Fulton County

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Minneapolis Moline Minneapolis Moline The Grease Steam and Rust Association is hosting the return of the “Prairie Gold Rush” (PGR), an organization of Minneapolis Moline tractor collectors and enthusiasts. The Prairie Gold Rush is located in the Midwest farming community, an area that is home to Minneapolis Moline tractors and equipment, a company with roots in Moline, Ill., and Minneapolis, Minn. The organization’s name comes from the factory-named “Prairie Gold”-colored paint used on early MM tractors.

The first tractors in the MM lineup were manufactured by the Minneapolis and Twin City tractor companies that later merged with the Moline plow company to produce the Minneapolis Moline modern machinery equipment line. This consisted of tractors, stationary power units and a full line of farm machinery, including tillage equipment, planters, haying equipment and harvesters for corn and grain crops. The first tractor with electric starting and electric lights was a product of the Moline plow company. The first tractors with a factory cab and LP gas-powered engines were MM models. The first four-wheel-drive military vehicle known as the “jeep” was of MM manufacture. The first tractor equipped with a cab, the UDLX, had the following: heater, cigarette lighter, AM radio, speedometer, windshield wipers, roll-down windows and a passenger jump seat and was manufactured by MM in 1938. At least one of these extremely rare tractors and 4x4 jeeps will be on display at the 29th annual Grease Steam and Rust Association show.

The Grease Steam and Rust Association, based in McConnellsburg, at the Fulton County Fairgrounds, hosts an annual antique tractor and engine show the third weekend of October in conjunction with the Fulton County Chamber of Commerce’s annual Fulton Fall Folk Festival. The festival is a countywide event that features various events, activities and displays, including a main street parade.

Each year the Grease Steam and Rust show selects a specific tractor and equipment line to be the brand showcased during the show. A large tent or tents are erected to display unique tractors, equipment and displays of related products and items. The featured equipment line is also featured in the festival parade.

The PGR has two conventions or gatherings each year. One is held during the winter months and the second is held during the summer at an antique tractor show. Both conventions are hosted by clubs that invite the PGR to participate in their respective show. GSR first extended an invitation the PGR in 1993 to host its annual convention during the 1994 GSR antique tractor show. The first trip into the mountains of Pennsylvania was a new experience for many of the PGR members and exhibitors that had never been East before.

It was a trip that will not be easily forgotten as many exhibitors brought MM equipment never seen before in the East. Exhibits included a Minneapolis steam engine, a “UDLX,” an experimental two-cylinder tractor the “YT,” the “NTX” jeep and many MM tractors of all models and styles.

The show spurred an interest in local tractor collectors to restore the few MM tractors that existed in the area. Others acquired MM tractors to expand their collections since the first PGR convention. Many antique tractor collectors began searching for the MM “Prairie Gold”- colored tractors, adding to their red and green collections. The show featured tractors and equipment from many states and MM enthusiasts from many more.

More than 100 MM tractors and exhibits were displayed. Those in attendance enjoyed the show, the mountains, the fall foliage and a banquet meeting that featured a pig roast. Many said they would return and return they did in 2003. The PGR was again invited by GSR and it accepted the invitation to return to the East Coast. They returned to McConnellsburg for the FFFF and the GSR annual show with even more tractors and equipment. In fact, the show had double the exhibits with more than 200 tractors and exhibits. Several local collectors added to the event with over 30 tractors between them. In attendance in 2003 were not one but two “UDLX’ tractors, several early production cab tractors, late model four-wheel-drive articulated tractors and custom-built MM tractors.

Displays included MM literature, MM toys and MM parts vendors, who were present to provide restorers with needed parts and supplies.

In March 2008, the Grease Steam and Rust Association extended a third invitation to host the annual PGR convention in the fall of 2009. The invitation was accepted without hesitation.

Please join us in welcoming the “Prairie Gold Rush” collectors and enthusiasts as they return to the scenic mountains of Pennsylvania for their annual convention and the 29th annual Grease Steam and Rust Association annual antique tractor and equipment show to be held October 16 through October 18.

Early entries include two “UDLXs, a MM crawler, MM toys, MM orchard tractors, MM pulling tractors and several “R” cab tractors, just to list a few. We encourage any and all MM collectors to bring their tractors and equipment, as our goal for “09” is to have more than 300 MM items on display.

In addition to the PGR organization, we have invited the Moline Gold Collectors Club, a Pennsylvania-based organization specializing in Minneapolis Moline tractors and equipment to participate in the show. MGCC has many members throughout Pennsylvania and the surrounding states. The organization has successfully promoted MM collectors in the tristate area, and we look forward to their participation in our show.

If you have any questions concerning the show, please contact the show chairman via at www.gsandr.com.

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