BARTELSO, Ill. — A few years had passed before they saw each other again. But Jerome Ripperda, one of the co-chairs of the 32nd National Red Power Round Up, immediately recognized the International Harvester mounted corn picker.
“I installed it brand new when I worked at the International Harvester dealer in 1969,” said Ripperda, of Bartelso.
Ripperda recently purchased the corn picker to add to the collection of International Harvester tractors and equipment that he and wife Jan have at their farm.
Jerome Ripperda became interested in International Harvester equipment while working on it as a mechanic at the H&N Agricultural Equipment in Albers for 13 years. He farms, just like his father and grandfather did, with row crops and he raises cattle.
Ripperda and the other organizers of this year’s Red Power Round Up are breathing easier these days.
“We bid on this three years ago. The first thing you have to do is to get a contract with a venue, so we had to go through the state for the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds. It was pretty shaky for a while, whether we were going to have this show or not, because of COVID-19, but they are telling us everything is a go,” Ripperda said.
All of the signs seemed right for 2021 to be the year that Illinois hosted the international gathering of International Harvester equipment and fans of it. The state last hosted the gathering in 2012.
“This is the 32nd Round Up and we are Chapter 32,” Ripperda said.
Organizers are expecting at least 1,000 pieces of International Harvester equipment — including some of the lesser-known IH pieces.
“International made M1 rifles and there are going to be at least four of them there,” Ripperda said.
He also said that guests can expect to see not only red, but white, gray and gold at the event.
“International made some white tractors, some white balers. They made gold tractors that were demonstrators. You’ll see white tractors, red tractors, yellow tractors, gold tractors,” Ripperda said.
His wife, Jan, who shares his love of all things IH, is registering guests and their equipment, and Ripperda said he’s impressed by the numbers.
“She’s taking care of the registrations, so those come to the house and I see them and I am just amazed at what we have registered so far,” he said.
Guests and IH equipment are expected from around the globe, and from neighboring nations, including Canada.
The showcase of the event will be a two-day wheat threshing demonstration.
“We are going to bring some wheat down and thresh on Thursday and Friday and we are going to be baling straw. I have someone coming with a 1912 hay press for that,” Ripperda said.
In addition to taking care of all of the duties that the organizing committee will handle, Ripperda will have several pieces from his collection at the show.
“I operate a 1912 Titan tractor and there are only three of those known to exist. I’m going to have that there and I will be giving demonstrations starting it because it’s an air start tractor. We are going to put that tractor on a threshing machine and thresh with it,” Ripperda said.
Ripperda said that people can pre-register to bring their IH equipment or they can show up any day of the show.
“Tickets are available at the gate and you can buy an armband for one day or for all three days. You can show up Saturday and register. You can come in anytime during the three days of the show. We will have people come in Saturday morning who live close and who don’t have a day off during the week. They will bring tractors in the last day. We’ll have a showbook and you can get a picture of your tractor in the showbook and we’ll have that for sale,” he said.
The show also includes a trade show with vendors selling “anything you can think of red.” The 2021 show also has a commemorative tractor that collectors can purchase, as well as show hats, T-shirts and belt buckles.
“We’ll have toys, clothes, everything IH-related. We are going to have two homemade quilts that will be auctioned on Saturday. My wife made one and another lady from our club made the other one and they are just beautiful,” Ripperda said.
Ripperda, who was recently elected to serve on the board of the National International Harvester Collectors Club, also serves on the board of the American Threshermen’s Association, headquartered in Pinckneyville.
He recently retired from his post as Germantown Township highway commissioner in Clinton County.
“I’ve got too many tractors to work on,” he said.
If You Go ...
What: 32nd National Red Power Round Up
When: July 1-3
Where: DuQuoin State Fairgrounds, 655 Executive Drive, DuQuoin, Illinois
More info: www.rpru2021.com