October 19, 2021

850 ‘horses’ rumble at Half Century

RANTOUL, Ill. — An “Earthquake” parted the ground of the former Chanute Air Force Base during the Half Century of Progress.

Instead of a natural disaster, the Earthquake was an 850-horsepower tractor.

The tractor is owned by Randall Brothers of Holgate, Ohio. It was built by Dave and John Curtis at Rite Manufacturing Co. in Montana and purchased by the Randall Brothers in 2012.

“We buy and sell used farm machinery, farm, and I’m living the dream,” said Lee Randall. “It was born with 750 horsepower. That’s how it got its name and they claim with new injectors and different things put it at 850 horsepower.

“We really haven’t done that much to it. It’s pretty much the way we got it. The two front tires were absolutely shot and we put new ones on and, like any 40-year old tractor, we had to work on the air conditioner.

“We’ve farmed with it. Very few tractors today can pull what it will, but it’s really fallen behind with the hydraulics in the new tractors and the new world of farming.”

The Earthquake pulled a 15-bottom plow during the biennial show.

“Darius Harms built a 20-bottom and we had that on, but this ground is really tough this year. We can make her bark and bellow. We blew a tire on the plow and they’re getting a new tire for it. Hey, just typical farming,” Randall said.

The Earthquake has been featured at the Half Century of Progress since the 2013 show.

“Kinze, Big Bud, the horses, the steam engines, they’ve always had a great feature. This year it was re-powered tractors,” Randall said.

“Everything is fun here. It’s the ‘funnest’ four days in farming. When I first started coming it was a different group of tractors. Now it’s starting to get into my age group with the ‘new’ generation John Deeres and the ‘modern’ Farmalls. It’s a shame to say, but the other companies were starting to fall off on account of the farm depression in the 1980s.”

Aside from the family auction business, Randall also farms in Ohio and Illinois.

“Mom was born in Illinois and I’ve always loved it out here. The family farm is near Lostant, Illinois. Dad always said grandpa made a bad mistake going to Ohio. There are good and bad farms everywhere you go, but Illinois truly is the breadbasket,” Randall said.

Tom Doran

Tom Doran

Field Editor