RANTOUL, Ill. Chuck Ehler, a Cat enthusiast and co-organizer of the exhibits alongside Clayton Smith, is showcasing a range of tractors, among them an RD-4 model that holds historical significance as the 20,000th diesel tractor manufactured at the company’s East Peoria assembly plant in November 1936.
During his youth, when Chuck Ehler was a young boy, his uncle, John Ehler, acquired the significant tractor for his agricultural activities. Many years elapsed, and John eventually sold the tractor, with its whereabouts fading from memory. It was only after an extensive search that Chuck and his family managed to locate the same historic tractor, which had been deteriorating in a field, and successfully restored it.
“We’re also planning to showcase a Holt combine. We possess one of the rare operational Holt combines in the state, which was produced by Caterpillar. It’s a 1926 model,” Ehler mentioned.
The collection curated by Ehler will also encompass an RD-6, a Cat 60, and several sizeable Caterpillar graders spanning the years 1928 to 1941.
“These are graders that are towed behind vehicles. Production of these ceased at the outset of World War II,” he remarked. “Additionally, we’ll be showcasing another exceptionally distinctive tractor — a 1939 Caterpillar D5. Only 46 of these were ever manufactured, and I possess a fully restored one that will be prominently displayed at the event.”
The D5 was a hybrid incorporating the D4 chassis and the 6-cylinder D6 45-horsepower D4600 engine.
“We’ll be showcasing around eight or nine tractors, graders, the combine, and various other pieces of Caterpillar equipment,” Ehler revealed.
“The folks in Rantoul have been incredibly accommodating. They’ve allocated us a space for conducting demonstrations. These tractors, along with the prairie tractors and others, will be used for general demonstrations like plowing,” Ehler expressed. “We’ll have a substantial array of equipment on display. Our lineup will be quite extensive. While it’s an agricultural show, it’s worth noting that we’re all farmers as well.”
“We’ll be setting up a tent measuring 40 feet by 40 feet. Attendees from various parts of the world will be present, including a contingent from Canada and a couple from Germany. They’ll all be actively involved. Therefore, I encourage you to arrive early and stay till the end,” he urged. “I’m fully committed to supporting and promoting this show. It’s truly an unparalleled event.”