Marvin Proctor of Pratt brought out his bright orange Harvey tractor for the Haviland Antique Tractor Show and Threshing Days Parade this past weekend.
The crowds aren't what they used to be at Haviland's end-of-August annual antique tractor and threshing days weekend, but Marvin Proctor never misses the show. It's a chance for him to take out his favorite tractor, drive it through the small-town parade and visit with new friends and old about what makes his old Harvey special.
On August 25, he took his bright orange collector's item out of his Pratt garage and went back to his old stomping-grounds in Haviland to enjoy some good old-fashioned fun, along with many others from area communities.
"There's not as many people here as there used to be," Proctor said. "Us old-timers are disappearing and the young men, well, they seem to like their technology more, but we had a good crowd on Saturday. We put on a show."
Wood cutting and threshing-machine demonstrations, old tool displays, games for the children and plenty of shade for visiting keep the faithful coming out to Haviland's August event. Love of tractors keeps Proctor entertained.
"This Harvey is one of only about 60 ever made," he said. "I taught mathematics at Pratt Community College for almost 40 years, and every day when I went home on highway 61, I could see this orange dot out in that junkyard there. One day I stopped to get a closer look."
That closer look led Proctor to an amazing discovery. The Harvey tractor parked there was in bad shape, but research revealed that it was number 21 of a very unique model, built after the end of World War II, when servicemen were coming home and suburban living was on the rise. There are fewer than 15 tractors from that original Harvey line known to be in existence.
"At first I had no idea what it was," Proctor said. "But I bought it from the owner, who was from Greensburg. We don’t know how such a tractor, built in Colorado as part of the Harvey line in about 1958, got to be in Pratt."
But Proctor, who grew up near Wellsford on a farm, knew a good piece of equipment when he saw one.
"I had to do quite a bit of work to restore it," he said. "But I've had it 35 years now and it's one of my favorite tractors."
Proctor also has four large tractors of various kinds in his collection, and four smaller garden-type tractors like the Harvey.
"I used to have a lot more, but I had a big auction in May and sold a bunch of them," he said.
According to Proctor, no one seems to know why the little orange model tractor is called a Harvey. It looks similar to an Allis-Chalmers but has Ford parts underneath, he said.
"It has a Ford straight-axle," he said. "Those came out from 1938-48. And it has a Ford transmission, hydraulic brakes, clutch and rear-end."
Like many tractor collectors, Proctor could spend hours talking about his favorite 4-wheel wonder, the Harvey. He published articles about his Harvey in tractor magazines in 1989 and 1992, and got some interesting responses from people who had seen something like or similar to his tractor. He keeps it shiny and parade ready, and each year takes it to Haviland, where he is sure to run into someone interested in a little mechanical power history. They don't make them like they used to.