Companies from 25 states and Canada showed off everything from power drills to balers, combines and $300,000 chemical sprayers at the 53rd annual Western Farm Show in Kansas City over the weekend.
By SARAH GISH
The Kansas City Star
Thousands of professional farmers from Missouri, Kansas and other Midwestern states attended the event Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the American Royal Complex in the West Bottoms.
Tractor pull competitions pulled in crowds to Kemper Arena on Friday and Saturday, but the big draw on Sunday was the heavy equipment at the farm show. Both levels of the American Royal Complex were sold out to a list of companies that included heavy hitters like Ford, which showed off 2014 F-150 trucks, and John Deere, which brought tractors, mowers and a new state-of-the-art sprayer that retails for $295,000.
The towering John Deere tractors were particularly popular with families. Ryan Cox, a cattle and hay farmer from Leeton, Mo., followed sons Royce, 1, and Rowan, 4, as they scurried through the maze of green machines.
Royce, wearing a plaid shirt and cowboy boots, needed help climbing into the drivers seat of a shiny new John Deere mower.
Beep beep! he said as he gripped the wheel at 10 and 2 and yanked it from side to side.
Meanwhile Cary Yates, a farmer from Monroe City, Mo., snapped a photo of nephew Jesse Barcus, 2, sitting in the yellow hubcap of a 6-foot-tall tractor tire.
John Deere territory manager Yancy Wright didnt seem to mind kids climbing on the equipment.
Anything to keep them entertained, Wright said.
The majority of people who attend the Western Farm Show are professional farmers, says the shows manager, Ken Dean. The show gives the farmers an opportunity to see, touch and compare equipment such as trucks, cattle chutes and tractors before buying them.
Brad and Angi Paxton, who raise corn, beans and wheat on a farm in Windsor, Mo., came to the show Sunday to look at new tractors.
Were comparing New Holland and John Deere, Brad Paxton said. New Holland has really come along the last couple years.
New Hollands blue tractors stood across an aisle from John Deeres green ones. New Holland territory business manager Marcus Madewell had this to say when he was asked if there was competition between his company and John Deere: Who?
Madewell and fellow New Holland representative George Rigdon said their hottest piece of equipment at this years show was a 2014 baler capable of producing 5-by-6-foot bundles of hay and corn stalks. The intimidating-looking red machine will bale pretty much anything, Rigdon said, just not fence posts.
Several local companies were represented at the farm show, including Monosem, which designs and manufactures planting equipment in Edwardsville.
Were one of the leaders in planter technology, said territory sales manager Chad Compton, who hauled Monosems new $230,000, 40-foot planter with a tractor 14 miles from Edwardsville to the West Bottoms.
Monosem planters are heavier than many others, Compton says, because many of the parts are made with stainless steel instead of plastic. Theyre customizable, he added, so farmers can use them to plant everything from tiny lettuce seeds to bulky peanuts.
But not all of the equipment on display at the Western Farm Show was for farming: Chevrolet showed off its 2015 Tahoe sport utility vehicle alongside a midnight blue 2014 Corvette Stingray.
General Motors product specialist Ruben Mendez demonstrated the Corvettes features to anyone who wanted to sit in the leather drivers seat even children.
Mendez said the $67,000 Corvette goes from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 3.8 seconds. It has a secret smartphone compartment and a top speed of 185 miles per hour.
It flies, the professional driver said.
Across the room from the shiny new Corvette sat an old 1951 Farmall tractor painted pink. Harold Denholm of Tonganoxie, Kan., stood beside it in a pink button-down shirt and matching ballcap, affixing ribbon stickers to shirts and Carhartt jackets of everyone who walked by.
The tractor belonged to Denholms wife, Aileen, who died of breast cancer in 2007. In 2009, Denholm had the tractor restored and painted pink in honor of Aileen. For the past four years, he has displayed it at the Western Farm Show alongside pamphlets with information on mammograms, self-exams and ways for women to reduce their risk of breast cancer.
Denholm says his goal is to convince at least one woman a day to get a mammogram.
Kathy McPherson of Burlington Junction, Mo., stopped by Denholms pink tractor Sunday and proudly told him that she was a breast cancer survivor and that shed been named a Kansas City Chiefs fan of the year in December.
During her battle with breast cancer six years ago, McPherson never missed a Chiefs game even when I was on chemo, she said.
McPherson, who raises row crops with her husband, Brian, brings her three-generation farm family to the Western Farm Show every year. McPherson made a point to stop by Denholms pink tractor this time. She shares with him a personal connection to breast cancer and, of course, a healthy appreciation for a good tractor.
I like your John Deere! McPherson told Denholm before following her kids and grandkids to the next booth.
To reach Sarah Gish, call 816-234-4823 or send email to email@example.com.