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Show us your favorite tractor winner announced

By Kriss Nelson - Farm News editor | May 25, 2021



The winner of the Farm News “Show Us Your Tractor” contest is Dr. Darwin Schossow with the submission of his 1929 Farmall Regular.

Schossow, is from West Des Moines and is Medical Director for Emergency Medical Services in Pocahontas County and also one of the staff Emergency Room Providers for Pocahontas Community Hospital, said it was hard to decide which tractor he wanted to submit for the contest.

“Asking a tractor junkie to show you their favorite tractor is like asking the father of seven to show you his favorite child. I have agonized over which one to send you, but finally settled on my 1929 Farmall Regular,” Schossow said when he entered the contest.

Schossow said he had been searching in eBay for a part for another project he was working on when he came across the 1929 Farmall Regular.

“What caught my eye was that it was located in Wallingford, Iowa, a town I visited a lot as a child,” he said. “After looking at the photos, I decided to bid and poof, I owned a really old tractor. When I went to pick it up, the young man who was selling it to me gave me a brief lesson on starting it and running it. By the time I was loading it onto my trailer, he had tears of seller’s remorse in his eyes.”

Although the 1929 Farmall Regular’s engine was in running condition, the rear end of the tractor and radiator needed some work. Schossow said he managed to repair and replace gears, bearings and seals in the rear end under the guidance of the folks in Clarion, Pennsylvania at Rice Equipment, Inc., who specialize in Farmall parts for tractors produced from 1921 to 1939.

“Without their parts, diagrams and instructions I am not sure I could have completed the project,” he said.

Originally the tractor featured steel wheels and had a top speed of 4 mph.

“Prior to me getting it, the wheels had been converted to rims and it had rubber tires,” he said. “I replaced the tires and then scoured the country looking for an overdrive gearbox that had been made in the 1930’s that would convert the transmission to give it a road gear of around 15 miles per hour.”

Schossow wanted to make the tractor eligible for tractor rides. He eventually found parts he needed in Sigourney and with some help of Waukee machinists, he said he was able to install it and make it work.

The radiator was serviced by a repair shop in Des Moines and Schossow said he did all of the sanding, blasting and painting in his own shop.

Less than a year later, Schossow and the 1929 Farmall Regular made their debut at the WHO Great Iowa Tractor Ride in Sioux City.

Schossow said his biggest joy was at the Clay County Fairgrounds that year, he had the oldest tractor there and having it start on the first crank and use it to pull start other much newer tractors that were reluctant to fire up under cold and wet conditions.

About Farmall Regulars

Schossow said the Regular is credited with being the first successful mass-produced row crop tractor.

“It’s popularity changed the shape of farm tractors around the world,” he said. “Its features made it very popular.”

Those features, he said included the cultivator gang shifting mechanism, automatic steering brakes, narrow front axles, high-clearance rear axle, rear PTO and its capability as a stationary power unit.

“Although the Regular was too large and expensive to be practical on some smaller farms, it made horseless farming possible for the farmers who could afford it and put thousands of horses out of work,” he said.

Schossow’s collection

Schossow said in addition to his 1929 Farmall Regular, he also has a 1951 Farmall M and a 1941 Farmall H that are fully restored and have been on many tractor rides around Iowa.

He also has a modified 1938 Farmall F-20 with a Chevy V-8 engine that was built by David Doan from Manson.

He further customized the F-20, he said with fenders, lights, a train horn, sunshade and several other chrome accessories.

That particular tractor will be pulling the Pocahontas Community Hospital float in the Heritage Days Parade and in the Pomeroy Celebration this year.

Schossow said he has restored two SC Cases and has passed them along to other collectors and has a 1949 David Bradley garden tractor that is fully restored with multiple implements including a plow and disc.

A rather unique item belonging to Schossow’s collection is a homemade toy tractor.

“It started out life as a snow blower,” he said. “I fabricated it for my grandkids to play with and pull wagons around the yard loaded with other little kids.”

How it all started

Schossow said when he was a kid, he wanted to be a musician.

“My dad thought I would never be able to make a living at it so he took me to the shop and made me learn tractor mechanics as a trade,” he said.

At the time, Schossow was not impressed with his father for making him spend time out learning how to work on tractors, but after his dad passed, the nostalgia for working on, restoring and maintaining antique iron became a passion.

“When I am playing and working on my old tractors it makes me feel close to my dad, who died in 1989,” he said. “It was his inspiration and training that gave me the skills I have to preserve these small pieces of history.”

Other contest winners

First, second and third place winners were selected by the staff at Bomgaars in Fort Dodge, with prizes of a $500 Bomgaars gift card to first place; $250 Bomgaars gift card to second place and a $100 gift card to third place.

Their second place selection was a 1928 John Deere GP belonging to Randy and Kris Irlbeck of Dedham. Third place went to Tracy Lenz of Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin who was originally from Jewell and his 1948 John Deere A.

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