ESCANABA — The Linsmeier family has several Minneapolis-Moline tractors lined up along the midway at the U.P. Steam & Gas Engine Association’s annual Labor Day Show. Rich Linsmeier takes pride in restoring the type of antique tractors that were once sold by his father at a dealership in Menominee.
“I remember several of the tractors in the family being sold at the business,” Linsmeier said. “They’re not around anymore so it kind of makes it a collectors piece, I guess, and you get a chance once in a while to get a real rare piece which is kind of nice.”
Linsmeier won an award at the show for his restoration of a 1956 Minneapolis-Moline crawler, a prototype for the company. It made restoring the machine difficult.
“The big deal was finding parts for it because it was a one of a kind unit. Everything that was shot or bad we had to build it, make it. So, it was real difficult in finding those parts,” said Linsmeier.
The entire family today celebrates the family legacy with the tractors. At the U.P. Steam and Gas Engine show, Linsmeier’s grandchildren climb on the equipment his father once sold. His four sons and son-in-law and their families gather for a weekend showing the equipment they restore.
Linsmeier says they have a very good time at the show. He gets emotional as he talks about it.
“You can’t ask for a neater thing,” he said. “They are all interested in what I’m interested in and it’s just cool. What more could you ask for.”
Today, Linsmeier sells Mahindra tractors at Linsmeier Implement in Menominee.
In his case, the antique tractors are a part of his family. But he says it’s important to remember those companies that are no longer around but had an impact on the history of argiculture.
“It shows you where we came from. Today, the tractors are so much more sophisticated and they have to be to keep up with technology to be competitive,” Linsmeier said.
He said he knows the tractors will eventually go away but taking the time to restore them give us a chance to hold on to them a little bit longer.
“It’s something interesting to bring back to life,” he said.