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Published June 03, 2012, 12:00 AM

Vintage tractors: Who has the most powerful in Schefield?

SCHEFIELD — Mike Schoch, who farms four miles southwest of Schefield, is powering up his John Deere tractors for a vintage tractor pull in conjunction with the St. Pius Verein Centennial celebration.

By: Linda Sailer, The Dickinson Press

SCHEFIELD — Mike Schoch, who farms four miles southwest of Schefield, is powering up his John Deere tractors for a vintage tractor pull in conjunction with the St. Pius Verein Centennial celebration.

Schoch is spearheading the tractor pull that starts 4 p.m. Sunday, June 24, on the grounds of Schefield.

“It’s open to everybody — this is for antique tractors,” Schoch said. “Right now, it’s mostly local.”

The tractor pull will involve pulling sleds in four weight classes. The definition of a vintage tractor is 1960 or older, he said.

Schoch started collecting tractors 15 years ago.

“I like working on them,” he said. “I probably can count 30-some tractors.”

His vintage collection is primarily John Deere, ranging from a 10 horsepower tractor up to 80 horsepower.

“I do have a couple Minneapolis Molines and an Allis Chalmers,” he said.

Schoch finds his tractors online and by attending auction sales. He buys tractors for parts and restores the others.

“When I get them running, I sell them to make money to get the next one — it’s a hobby,” he said.

Schoch credits his interest in tractors to his grandfather, Jerome Schoch, who farmed with John Deeres.

He is married to Heidi, and they have three children, Oe, 3; JT, 9 and an adult son, Zane.

“I’m very supportive of the hobby, maybe up to a point — some days are better than others,” Heidi Schoch said.

Mike Schock grew up at Schefield and the family lives on his uncle’s farm.

“My other uncle lives on the home place where I grew up,” he said.

Schoch works on his collection during rainy days, weekends and winters. His most recent project is a 1953 John Deere 80 that came from Texas.

“My brother lives down there and he bought four tractors — we hired a hauler to bring them up,” he said.

The value of vintage tractors has declined in recent years, probably because of the economy, he said. “They are big-boy toys.”

Schoch stores the tractors on several Quonsets on the farm.

“We used to run cattle, but my barns hold tractors now,” he said.

Schoch expects between 30 and 40 tractors and plenty of spectators.

“We had a good turn-out at the tractor pull in New England last year, and I expect as good this year,” he said.

There is no admission to watch and the entry fees will be used as prizes.

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