| R&M Lowry had 100 Minneapolis Moline tractors
By Shirley Willard, Fulton County Historian
Richard “Dick” and Martha Lowry have been farming 500 acres named R&M Lowry since 1972.
Dick got interested in Minneapolis Moline tractors and collected 100 of them. They all run and are kept in sheds.
In 2012 his brother Paul Lowry sold his Moline collection so Dick put 15 of his in the sale. He still has 85 Molines.
Dick and his Molines have been featured in several magazines, on calendars, and on RFD-TV. Two years ago
they took a tractor to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the world’s largest parade of pick-ups and tractors.
Because the Moline color is gold, Dick sometimes wears a gold shirt, cap and socks. One time a woman asked
if he wore gold underwear too.
Dick used to raise beef cattle and pigs, but now no livestock, only corn, soybeans and popcorn. He retired in
2012, renting the farm to his nephew, Jeff Lowry, son of his brother, Dean Lowry. The farm is located six miles
southeast of Francesville.
Dick’s father, Don Lowry, had Moline tractors which is how Dick got interested in collecting them. Dick’s farm is
a mile from his father’s farm.
He takes some Molines to four or five shows a year, including the Power of the Past at Winamac. This year his
farm will be the honored farm at the Fulton County Historical Power Show June 19-21 at the Fulton County
Historical Society grounds on US 31 north of Rochester. He will exhibit some of his Moline tractors and the history
of his farm in a tent in the midway.
The oldest tractor Dick had was a 1937 Moline, the year he was born. It was among the 15 he sold. He gets a
tractor out to spray every year. Otherwise he starts each tractor every year or so to make sure they still run.
For 30 years, 1963-1993, Dick trucked for MoorMans Livestock Feed from Bourbon and Reynolds, delivering to
farmers, including Fulton County.
Dick married Martha Jones in 1957. He and Martha have four children, Terry, Larry, Pam and Dave, but they went
into different occupations, not farming.
Terry, who passed away four years ago, worked for NAPA in Winamac; he and wife Diana had two sons, Brett
and Bradley. Larry and wife Maria live in Lakeville, Minnesota, with three children, Brian, Steve and Catie. Larry
works for Kraft Foods. Pam and Rick Kurtz live in Dayton, Ohio, and have two daughters, Alisha and Sara. Dave
and wife Julie live in Oswego, Illinois, where he works for the power company; they have two children, Adam and
Erin. All nine grandchildren are out of high school and either still in college or pursuing different lines of work.
They all love the farm and the Moline tractors. Some will attend the Fulton County Historical Power Show and
help with the family exhibit. Dick has a great knowledge of Moline tractors and enjoys helping the younger
Photo: Dick Lowry drives the oldest tractor in his collection, 1938 Minneapolis Moline, in 2006 Francesville
parade. He is wearing gold shirt, hat and socks. His will be the honored farm at the Fulton County Historical
Power Show June 19-21. (Photo from Dick Lowry.)
Lily Pearl Square Dancing Tractors famous now
By Shirley Willard, Fulton County Historian
Fulton County has had several famous people from Elmo Lincoln – the first Tarzan in 1918 to its latest
entertainment sensation, the Lily Pearl Square Dancing Tractors. They will be on RFD-TV June 11 at 9 p.m., June
12 at 11 p.m., and June 14 at 10 p.m. It was filmed last year at the Cass County 4-H fair.
This is the fourth year that the square dancing tractors have performed. They perform at festivals, county fairs
and other agricultural- related shows throughout the summer. This year they performed at the Wakarusa Maple
Syrup Festival in April which is the earliest show they have ever done.
The idea of the square dancing tractors actually started five years ago when Carl Overmyer of Fulton County
Historical Power Association thought that the idea of a group performing square dancing moves on tractors
sounded like a fun challenge. He had seen videos of others doing it and brought the idea to Robert “Skeeter”
Daugherty. The idea spread among members of the FCHPA and Rich Rensberger, who was president of the
Association, at that time wanted to try it.
The first challenge was to find eight people who were willing to commit. After finding a group of eight, they got
together with their favorite 16th scale toy tractors and practiced moves that were typical of square dancers and
that full- size tractors could maneuver. They then moved up to pedal tractors and demonstrated at a FCHPA
meeting. Everybody was excited to see the real thing.
After a lot of hours practicing they performed at the FCHPA’s summer show. There was a mix of Oliver, Allis,
Farmall, International, and Moline tractors. It didn’t take long before they realized if everybody had the same type
of tractor, the performance would be better because the gear ratios would be the same. That is when the Farmall
H’s were adopted. In fact, tractor square dancing was invented in the 1950s by Farmall owners in Iowa.
Dryden Vance, who was only seven years old at that time, brought a video to share and helped choreograph it
with toy tractors. Dryden’s mother, Jana Vance, superintendent of Rochester Schools, is the announcer. Her
father Morris Murphy has 10 antique tractors, which Dryden helped his grandpa restore.
Skeeter Daugherty named the group for his wife’s late grandmother Lily Pearl Shrader, who “got a kick out of
watching” them at the antique tractor shows. The tractor drivers are all males but half of them dress as women,
wearing dresses and wigs, and therein is the fun. Their tricks and jokes are good old-fashioned farm humor.
They take turns showing off and flirting. For the past year Denny Johnson has been coming up with the moves
along with other drivers.
Jana Vance’s script is what makes the performance so much fun. The dancers are all members of the
imaginary Bob family: Charlie Bob, Olivia Bob, Jim Bob, Daisy Bob, Bill Bob, Lily Pearl Bob, Shiski Bob and Cletus
Bob. Also John Deere Bob, who at the end of the 30 minute show drives his John Deere tractor out into the arena
and steals the girl. Tractor Doctor Bob fixes the tractors when they won’t start, a comedy bit.
The requests for performances exploded beyond belief. The group which started in Fulton County now
includes Marshall and Kosciusko counties as well. They can be found on YouTube, Facebook, the web and they
also have an email account. Early on, one of their goals was to go to the Indiana State Fair to perform. At first they
all thought if and when. Well, the call came last year, and they performed at the 2014 Indiana State Fair. Family
and friends all came and it was an exciting day.
It is all about speed and timing. Crashes do happen, and repairs can be expensive. The group charges for
transportation to festivals. It takes four semi trailers to haul nine tractors.
My favorite part is the do-si-do when the big rear wheels turn together side by side. It is an amazing piece of
They will perform June 19-20 Friday at 6 pm and Saturday at 3 pm at the Fulton County Historical Power Show.
Their schedule this year includes performances in Illinois also. The group practices each week for several
hours and a lot of time is spent on tractor maintenance and planning. They all say that as long as they are still
having fun they will continue.
June 19-20 Rochester, IN Fulton County Power Show Fri 6 p.m. Sat. 3 p.m.
July 4 Bourbonnais, IL Old Time Farm Show 10 a.m. & 2 p.m. CT
July 7 Logansport, IN Cass County Fair 6 pm and 8 pm
July 11 Crown Point, IN Power Show 11 am and 2 pm CT
July 13 Argos, IN Marshall County Fair 7:30 pm
July 14 Hamlet, IN Starke County Fair 6 pm and 8 pm CT
July 15 Rochester, IN Fulton County Fair 6 pm
July 16 Winamac, IN Winamac Power Show 7 p.m.
July 18 Watseka, IL Iroquois County Fair 12:30 & 3 p.m. CT
July 26 Monticello, IN White County Power Show parade 2 p.m., shows 4 pm and 6 pm
August 22 Rensselaer, IN Jasper County Fall Festival 10 a.m. & 2 p.m. CT
August 29 Monroeville, IN Saint Rose Summer Fest 2 pm and 4 pm
Sept. 26 Valparaiso, IN Sunset Hill Power Show 10 a.m. & 2 p.m. CT
|Fulton County Historical Society
Fulton County Historical Power
& Toy Show
June 19-21, 2015 Rochester, IND