By Jennie Zeitler
Toys come in all sizes and varieties, delighting people of all ages. This is evident at the annual Farm Toy Show in Sauk Centre. One farm toy enthusiast and collector has found toy shows to be a good place to fill holes in his collection.
Brad Goodenbour of Brooten grew up in St. Louis Park. He often visited his grandparents, Merle and Laura Nelson, in Brooten and developed a deep love of farming.
“For birthdays and Christmas I got toy tractors,” he said.
Goodenbour began farming with the Nelsons shortly after his high school graduation. He married in 1985. He and Renee have raised four sons. Joel came first followed by triplets Brandon, Bryce and Brent. Brent still farms at home.
The tractors Goodenbour’s grandparents used were Allis Chalmers, so his collection began with his childhood toys.
“When I started collecting I had to pick one company,” he said. “There were just too many, and, if you don’t watch it, you could spend more money than you have on toys.
“When new ones are released, I pick those up,” said Goodenbour. “I pretty much have all the earlier models now.”
He traded some of the toys he had for pieces to complete his collection.
“Toy shows are a good place to find the pieces you’re looking for,” he said.
With years of experience looking at toys, Goodenbour’s eyes have been fine-tuned to the sometimes small differences in casting that occur when a toy is reworked and re-released.
“There are a few little casting differences from original models to remade models,” he said. “Ertl is good about changing the casting design so that people aren’t cheated into thinking they’re buying an original instead of a remake.”
At a show in Hutchinson, Goodenbour was strolling past a table when one tractor caught his eye. He picked it up and told the exhibitor he would take it.
“People have been picking that up all day, but no one bought it,” the man told Goodenbour. “You must know something they didn’t.”
The man asked Goodenbour why he wanted the tractor.
“There are seven or eight versions of that model 190, all with small differences,” Goodenbour said. “But he did sell it to me for his asking price, even though it was worth a lot more.”
Most newly-produced die-cast toy models are made of an alloy of zinc with small quantities of aluminum and copper.
He used to have International models and John Deeres “just picked up to have to trade,” he said. “I pick one up for another collector now and then.”
When it comes to actual farming, Goodenbour continues to farm the 320 acres he partnered with his grandparents to nurture in 1981. At that time, 40 head were milked. Now, it’s about 50-60 milkers.
“We grow alfalfa and corn; everything raised goes to feed the cattle,” said Goodenbour.
The farm used to house Massey Ferguson tractors and Internationals, but now there are five Allis Chalmers, a John Deere, an AGCO and a White.
Goodenbour likes to collect models of tractors he has driven.
“I drove a Case IH quad track last fall,” he said. “It used 31 gallons of fuel an hour.”
A model of it now sits in front of Goodenbour’s fireplace.
“It’s a lot less expensive to buy toys than to buy the real thing,” he said with a grin. “You can get what you’d like to have in a big tractor as a model.”
News to Use
The 26th annual Farm Toy Show is being held at a new location: the ElmerZ Event Center in Sauk Centre (next to McDonald’s). The doors will be open Saturday, Feb. 9, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
More than 80 tables of collectibles, toys and merchandise are expected.
For more information, call (320) 352-5201 or visit www.saukcentrechamber.com.