Delbert McLaughlin started as a member of the Willamette Valley Ag Expo’s Antique Farm Equipment Display crew about a half-dozen years ago. The hat he wears says it all: “Git ’Er Done.”
The Willamette Valley Ag Expo relies on the dedication of the volunteer crew crucial to making the display a success, said Francis Garceau, 72, who for years has organized the antique equipment display.
He said antique farm equipment collectors from around the Willamette Valley have joined the effort to expand the event each year, and McLaughlin has been a big part of that effort with his own collection of John Deere machinery.
“We’ve had 80 to 90 pieces of equipment” each year, McLaughlin said. The display has typically been housed in the Cascade Building at the Expo grounds.
“International has had a big show (at the Expo’s Antique Farm Equipment Display) in past years, as well as Case and others,” McLaughlin said. “And, of course, Francis (Garceau) brings all of his Canadian Cockshutts.”
McLaughlin, 75, of Buena Vista, said he is contemplating bringing one or two of his restored antique John Deere GPO, AR, 50, H and LA models. His brother, Glen, who lives nearby, will bring a John Deere B model he has restored.
McLaughlin’s recent purchase of a 16-foot John Deere flatbed trailer will help in the move to the Expo center, he said.
Formerly a millwright and maintenance man at now-defunct Evanite Fiber in Corvallis, McLaughlin said he has been a machinist most of his life but stays busy helping farm neighbors and others in his free time.
In addition to working on the 15 to 16 antique tractors and other machinery — “only four or five still have to be fixed up” — he helps out with a new John Deere exhibit going up at the Antique Powerland museum complex in Brooks.
“I think this is a wonderful Expo,” McLaughlin said. “Personally, I think it’s better than any of the others in the state.
“It seems to be smaller, but it just works better,” he said. “We get a lot of people coming to it and a lot of vendors, and this antique show we put on helps draw some of them in.”
The Antique Farm Equipment Display will be held throughout the three days of the Expo in the Cascade Building at the Linn County Fair & Expo Center in Albany.