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June 30, 2016 • Sports
Pictured from left, son Clint, daughters Lucie and Lanie, and father Hank Nicholson, deliver their E3 Co-op to the Ripley County Fairgrounds for exhibition during the 2016 Annual Farm Club Show. GARY FRANKLIN PHOTO
Familiar to Ripley County Tractor Pulls and to the Battle of the Bluegrass Series, after pulling “The Wives Competition” 1566 IH to the top spot in the “Hot Farm Tractor Class” is Scottsburg’s Laramy Thomas. From left are Bluegrass BGPS representative Tom McConnell presenting the check, Laramy Thomas, wife Tosha, and Kevin Boggs of North Vernon. The winning pull distance is 347.58. GARY FRANKLIN PHOTO
Osgood native, farmer and pull enthusiast Chris Linville utilizes the lifting power of one of their John Deere tractors at track side to add weight to the sled, as classes and power levels change; behind the scene during Friday night’s pulls...but he and son Zach are front and center in Saturday action results. GARY FRANKLIN PHOTO
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PAGE UPDATED BY MARIA SIEVERDING JUNE 30, 2016 2 P.M.


Farmall-Land USA • Avoca, Iowa

A lifetime of ‘Red’ in his system

Gary Franklin
SPORTS EDITOR

On a recent summer road trip my wife Lois and I visited Farmall-Land USA located in Avoca, Iowa. I had seen the museum, which is dedicated to all things Farmall, on one of those late night travel shows and thought if we’re ever in Iowa I would stop in for a visit. A couple of weeks ago, we had the opportunity to go to Iowa, and I met Jerry and Joyce Mez owners and operators of Farmall-Land USA which opened in 2006. All have “Red” in their system, some have real “red”…“Farmall Red” to which there is no replacement. Jerry is one of those.

Jerry MezGARY FRANKLIN PHOTO

Jerry Mez, at 74, is a man living the vision and persevering in his office, decorated with what else…toy IH Farmall replicas!

His lifetime of love and devotion to the International Harvester have resulted in 26,500 square feet of show place devoted to everything Farmall. The museum is filled with everything from toy replicas, to Cub Cadet mowers, to tractors of different eras, to large construction equipment and trucks as well. Among specific specimens are high-clearance, steel-wheeled units, a Five Million Series IH Farmall, an M with a V-8 engine, pulling mowers and tractors, and trophies won, and yes even a “Farm Widows” lounge complete with dolls, etc., that catch the eye of young and old alike. Jerry came by the heartfelt dedication to “Red” machinery honestly, as his father Max, a school teacher in Falls City, Nebraska, for years, found weekend and summertime employment at a neighboring IH dealership. The Mez IH dealership and business originated from that encounter, resulting in what today is an IH enthusiast’s dreamland!

Following Jerry’s stint in the military and college, he returned to the business and later took over the dealership. The first item saved among Jerry’s lifelong collection is a 1943 F-20 Farmall, suggested by his dad as a memory to the first year of the new business originating. Growing from that to a magnificent display of wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling sea of red of today! Jerry and his wife are extremely friendly folks that make one very proud to be an American and share the heritage of those who have stayed the course to pave the way for future generations. In an earlier interview, Jerry had noted that He is particularly partial to the IH 1206, stating it is “my favorite of all time; the best tractor ever made by anybody, red or green or anybody in between.” Manufactured in an era before tractors needed a lot of bells and whistles, the 1206 is a stout tractor with a really nice red and white paint scheme and a lot of horsepower, and not much could go wrong with it.

He has four in the museum, including a Wheatland model, front-wheel assist, narrow front, and wide front end models. The Farmall-Land Museum contains hundreds of operational real tractors, thousands of display items of toy model replicas, pedal tractors, Cub Cadet models, artistic work and signage that can entertain the true appreciator of “Red” for hours on end, and it all began with his collecting a Model F-20 with his dad! In the short time we were there, over a dozen Hoosiers visited the museum! What more could one ask, than at 74 years young to have the joy of fulfilling, while sharing with the public, one’s dream come true.


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