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Red Power Roundup 2017 Walkabout

Teardrop Trail Log: June 15, 2017

This was my fourth experience with the Red Power Roundup. Huron, Sedalia and Union Grove had been memorable, but the Iowa State Fair was the largest layout I had ever seen. Previous attendance had been between 15,000 and 25,000, but the estimate for this gathering was 50,000. This was going to be special!

Marilyn safely ensconced with her adoring public at the Octane Press booth, I set out for a quick tour of the nearby environs. The vendors, including Octane, were mostly located in the “Varied Industries Building.” I spent about and hour in its air-conditioned interior and headed outside.

I was immediately introduced to the “Machinery Grounds,” and beautiful red tractors were visible in every direction. Not surprisingly, much of the grounds were large concrete lots. But a pleasant wooded park was also nearby and crowded with the fascinating machines. In one curious display, 15 progressively-sized tractors — both toy and real — were connected together end-to-end. I couldn’t help wondering what the point of that was, but I would find out while watching the parade a couple of days later.

I enjoy looking at old machinery, in part because my grandparents were farmers and I had free reign of their place on summer visits as a child. There was plenty of old machinery there to look at and play with, and the fascination was born. As mentioned in an earlier post, my morning walkabout ended by meeting a new friend, Ron. The young man with the pedal tractor Marilyn and I had encountered earlier in the day (and would see again later on) made a cameo appearance also.

Photo of the Iowa State Fair Varied Industries Building interior

A Day at the Red Power Roundup

Teardrop Trail Log: June 15, 2017

photo of vendor with IH Curios

IH Curios

Marilyn had duties in the Octane Press booth, so I decided to see how much of the fair I could survey before lunch and her afternoon Irma Harding presentation.

photo of negotiation at Red Power

Driving a Hard Bargain

The vendors were mostly located in the “Varied Industries Building.” and it took about an hour to look over the displays. You tend to see the same folks year after year. It’s always interesting though, and fun to catch up with the folks you know from previous ‘Roundups.

photo of a Red Power Clown

A new friend

After the vendor displays, it was time to venture out. The Fairgrounds are huge, and there were tractors everywhere. I started on the “Machinery Grounds” and spent the rest of the morning looking over the assembled equipment. As I was shooting a tractor, a fellow struck up a conversation. We had both noticed a youngster peddling a toy tractor down the sidewalk, and I mentioned that I had seen this hard-working lad earlier. As we talked, Ron told me about his years of farming, love of cows, work with animal breeding and avocational clowning. Quite an interesting fellow. We exchanged business cards and said we’d keep in touch. You just never know who you’re going to meet at a Red Power Roundup.

photo of Lunch at Red Power

Lunch at Red Power

 

It was time to prepare for Marilyn’s presentation. We found her hall along one side to the Varied Industries Building and with the help of Lee’s staff,¬†got the projector set up. Hungry with plenty of time for lunch, I wandered over the the food concession. Hamburgers and fries were the delicacy of the day, and we chowed down.


Marilyn’s presentation went perfectly (see separate post), and the afternoon was ours to explore. I took her around Machinery Grounds for a little while before we decided some air-conditioning would be nice. The “4H Building” was relatively close, so we headed there. Inside, we discovered ranks of Cub Cadet garden tractors and IHC Autowagons.

In one corner of the building, they were setting up the annual auction and I noticed an enormous chest freezer. It was immaculate, and the owner was supervising the load-in. Inside, there were packages of mock food all wrapped in authentic Irma Harding freezer paper. We chatted with him for a few minutes before he had to go out for another load. We both wondered: did he realize that the Irma Harding paper he had used was more valuable than the freezer itself?

On the way out of the building, we spotted the toy tractor operator. It looked like he was done for the day.

photo of boy with toy tractor resting on a bench

That’s enough for one day