Jamboree gives garden tractors their day in the sun at Hinrichs farm

Garrett Edwards, 14, of Elkhorn, Wisconsin, plows with his John Deere 112 at the 14th AJ's Garden Tractor Jamboree on Saturday, May 20.

OREGON — A picture perfect Saturday paved the way for 400+ garden tractors to shine and show their stuff at the 14th annual AJ’s Garden Tractor Jamboree.

Collectors traveled to the Hinrichs property at 1675 S. Columbian Road, between Oregon and Polo, to brag about their tractors, swap parts, and of course, show what their Cub Cadets, John Deeres, Fords, Wheel Horses were really meant to do.

Kids and “seniors” buzzed by on tractors traversing between the rows of yellow, green, and blue.

Jim Klaus, 85, of Carlinville, Illinois, zipped along the main road on his 1977 Allis Chalmers hydrostatic – just one of his 11 tractors. “I have five big ones and six little ones. Three of the big ones are ACs and the other two are Fords. All of the little ones are ACs.”

And, of course, Klaus was more than wiling to share his story about ‘his ride’.

“I knew the owner of the Allis Chalmers dealer and when he retired I bought this,” said Klaus, a ‘first timer’ to the Jamboree. “I saw the show on Facebook and I decided to come to it. I think it is great. I am planning on it for next year.”

The Jamboree offered participants to show what their tractors could do on the lawn and in the garden.

Adam Jannene of Burlington, Wisconsin and Bob Voegli of Broadhead, Wisconsin were using their tractors – equipped with a front bucket – to scoop up gravel and distribute it down the center of show area in the “Gravel Pile” event.

To the east, Garrett Edwards, 14, of Elkhorn, Wisconsin shifted his weight on the seat of his John Deere 112 as he plowed where pumpkins would eventually be planted.

In one of the barns, kids could shell and grind corn by hand. Antique corn shellers, along with other vintage farm tools, toys, and machinery are all part of the Jamboree experience.

Andy Hinrichs, who named the event after his son AJ, said the event is geared towrad family activities.

Proceeds from $10 admission and food sales help cover the cost of port-a-potties and the sound system along with other expenses for hosting the show, Hinrichs said, adding that all the proceeds from the 4-H auction go to the Blackhawk Crossing 4-H Club.

Chuck Piggott, 62, of Sheridan, chose a different mode of transportation to traverse the Jamboree grounds – a 1976 Schwinn Stingray bicycle.

“This was built in Chicago,” said Piggott. “I have over 100.”

As Piggott sat on the bike’s banana seat, a show attendee asked to take of photo of the little red bike and then proceeded to talk about how he had one just like if and how seeing it at the show brought back fond memories.

“I just love to ride it around at the shows I go to. But the stories that people come up and tell me is what’s really interesting,” Piggott said. “Everybody has a bike story.”

Piggott was also another first timer to the Jamboree. “This is a great show. I am absolutely not going to miss it again,” he said. “It’s been a great day.”

If you missed the Jamboree, the farm is open for tours for groups and organizations. Visit Andy Hinrichs on Facebook for more information or call 815-262-6358.

Earleen Hinton

Earleen Hinton

Earleen creates content and oversees production of 8 community weeklies. She has worked for Shaw Newspapers since 1985.