Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Nebraska Bankers with "Pull": Tractor-Collecting CEOs Enjoy Farm History on Wheels

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Nebraska Bankers with "Pull": Tractor-Collecting CEOs Enjoy Farm History on Wheels

Article excerpt

Ever since Captain Ahab, collectors have sought their own "white whale," an elusive item whose very rarity makes it desirable. Nebraska's C.G. "Kelly" Holthus found his: a white International Harvester tractor, circa 1950.

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Typically, International tractors bore a coat of red paint, Holthus explains, but a handful of demonstrator units were specially painted white. Farmers, who tend to be loyal to their brand's color, didn't want a white tractor. But the white International caught the fancy of Holthus, chairman, president, and CEO of $924 million-assets Cornerstone Bank, York, Neb. Today he owns 20 tractors of varying vintages that he keeps on his 100-acre farm.

Holthus downplays his hobby, calling his collection, other than the odd special like the white International, "not collector's items, just old tractors." He's not even that good at mechanics, he says, and has an expert on call to help him keep his machines in running order.

Fellow Nebraskan Harley Bergmeyer, a personal friend of Holthus, shares this interest in vintage tractors, and the heritage of growing up on a farm. Asked for their first memories on a tractor, both men recall being around 7, riding with their fathers.

The first tractor Bergmeyer drove, not long after that first ride with his dad, was a Farmall B, around 1948. "I was probably too young," says Bergmeyer, "but it was a smaller tractor. …

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