EAST GRAND FORKS, Minn.-It took a couple of tries, but once started, a tractor more than a century old ran without a hitch.
Joe Borgen couldn't help but smile as he watched the antique Friday at the Heritage Village in East Grand Forks.
"I used to hang on the wheels as they turned," Borgen said of his childhood, grabbing the metal spokes and laughing. Then he pointed to the back iron bumper. "Here are the engravings showing the dates when we harvested."
The East Grand Forks man recalled days of his youth with the 1910 Fairbanks-Morse tractor that his father, Leo, bought new off the manufacturing line. The most recent owner, Greg Wakeman of Ramona, Calif., hauled the tractor roughly 2,000 miles to show off the running tractor, one of three of its kind made in the U.S. left in the world, during Heritage Days in East Grand Forks. Only two of those, including Wakeman's, is operational.
The 25-horsepower tractor was used on the Borgen farm near Niagara, N.D., to thresh grain. Weighing in at 7 tons, it operates with a hit-and-miss engine and can go all day without refueling, Wakeman said. It runs on 60 to 80 revolutions per minute. In comparison, a car idles at about 700 rpms.
"It only has one gear," Wakeman added. "Our top speed is 2 ½ mph."
Manufactured in Wisconsin, the tractor is special because it was among a handful made in the U.S. The rest were put together in Canada.
Wakeman and Borgen have been in contact with each other since the East Grand Forks man sold the tractor to the Californian machinery collector in 2012, and this trip has been a year in the making, Borgen said. It will be on display, and running with quiet putters, this weekend at the village.
When asked how he felt about seeing the tractor back in the Red River Valley, Borgen said with a smile on his face, "it's unbelievable."