Plowing Record Set!
By Cindy Ladage
It's big news, what happened August 26-28, 2005 in Rantoul, Illinois at the Half a Century of Progress. At the show,
steam enthusiasts hooked 60 two-bottom plows on to three Case Steam engines. The goal was to break the former
world plow record. As many of you have probably already heard, they did!
The previous world record according to the research gathered by he organizers of the Half Century of Progress
indicated that the previous world plow record to beat was one recorded in 1909 when a 55-bottom plow record was
set. Where did this historical event take place? The event took place at the former Chanute Air Force Base which
now is called the Rantoul National Aviation Center Airport, and home to an air museum as well.
The show was organized by the Village of Rantoul and the I & I Antique Tractor and Gas Engine Club, and was
attended by Max Armstrong, who also led a 2-Speed tractor ride on August 26th. The show had a lot of wonderful
things to see, field demonstrations, antique farm equipment on hand working and sitting, and of course, the World
Plow record! The field was crowded with onlookers whenever the Case Steam engines and multitude of plows took to
the field. This sight was like bees gathering around honey, with only the dust from the plow making it obvious that
something was going on in the midst of the field.
"Its been done when Rumley Oil Pull had a demonstration of 55 bottoms. While this is not a new idea, it is the
biggest," said Tom Martin of Crescent City, Illinois. Martin was one of the lucky ones that got to handle one of the
levers for the plows. With three 110 horse power Case Steam engines in multiple hitch pulling 60 plows with two
bottoms each, the scene was like out of a movie. "It was totally awesome to see that many plows going all at once
running 80' wide all in one path. That was a lot of earth." Being at the right place at the right time is how Martin got
the ride of the show. "I sat on a plow. I knew the guys that were running the engine and no one else claimed the space.
There were a lot of others that wanted to do it. It was amazing looking behind the plows at the seas of faces. I've
never done anything like this."
Tom Martin was one of the lucky ones because it was hard for onlookers to see the activity up close and personal.
Besides the plow demonstration, another event that was rather unique was a charity toy auction of Orion Samuelsons
personal toy collection. Proceeds from the auction benefited scholarships for undergraduate students enrolled at the
College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois. The sale brought in a
whopping $19,365 dollars in funds for ACES students.
The first Half Century of Progress Show was convened in 2003 in conjunction with the Farm Progress Show. This
year's event was even bigger and better than the previous one, with the record breaking plow demonstration, the
charity museum and great demonstrations, this years event will go down in agricultural history.