Antique tractors will take to the local highways on Saturday as part of the 3rd annual Tractor Trek. Alvin Brandt of Blumenort will be one of the drivers, and has entered six tractors for he and some of his offspring, who are also taking part. He explains why he has joined since the event began.
"I like old tractors, and I have the family involved. My grandsons are interested in driving too, so it's almost a family affair for us." His son Frank and grandchildren Joel, Brent, Andrew, and Jason will be the other participants.
At 79 years old, Brandt continues to pursue restoring tractors, and says antique ones are still his favourite.
"I grew up with the old style, and feel more at home on the old ones than on the new ones today." So far, Brandt has completed two of five antique tractor projects. He says he began the hobby with restoring a family vehicle.
"I started off with a tractor that my dad bought new in '55 in spring. I've had the tractor for many years, and am interested in keeping it up. I guess that's how it started." Brandt bought the tractor, a 1954 McCormick-Deering Super W4, from his father.
There is also a story behind the oldest tractor Brandt owns, from the year 1945.
"My father-in-law bought a tractor like that in '44 - the same thing as this, during the war years. He couldn't get it rubber (tires); he bought it on steel and later changed to rubber. That's what I have tried to imitate."
As for the tractor trek, Brandt says he appreciates the fundraising aspect. Through a pledge system, money is raised by drivers and split between Eden East and the Mennonite Heritage Village.
Brandt says he has received support in his restoration ventures from others since he started in 2000. He adds he likes to see how things were made over 50 years ago, and then imitate that. Brandt notes he does not plan on stopping anytime soon.
"I guess as long as I can be around, I'll enjoy it."
The convoy of tractors will leave the MHV at 10am on Saturday, make a 50 km loop through several communities and return to Steinbach after 4pm. For more info about the event, click HERE.