Note: This feature is in the April TF 2018 issue
When Chad Harris first stood in the shadow of the one-of-a-kind behemoth Big Bud 950/50, he had one thought.
"That's the next model I want to build," Chad remembers thinking. Four years later, he's completed six replicas of the second-largest tractor in the world, just behind the Big Bud 747.
Chad saw the real tractor at Big Equipment Co. of Havre, Mont., where Ron Harmon had refurbished the 950-horsepower tractor in 2014 before it was shipped to Levelland, Texas, for use by a cotton farmer. The upgraded tractor is about 21 feet wide, weighs about 90,000 pounds and holds 700 gallons of fuel. A video of the tractor in the field can be viewed on YouTube.
Chad's 1/16 scale Big Bud 950/50 replicates the real tractor, which he was able to measure while it was parked at Big Equipment. Ron Harmon's Big Bud company built the largest tractor in the world, the Big Bud 747, in the 1970s. Big Equipment Co. focused on rebuilding and upgrading tractors, with its main emphasis on the Big Bud tractors built in Havre, Mont., between 1969 and 1984.
From Rexburg, Idaho, Chad has a passion for the big tractors, which was solidified when he operated a Big Bud 525/50 following high school graduation.
"I opened one, so that's what sparked my interest," he says. Chad worked a two-year stint for an owner of a Big Bud tractor and Friggstad scrapers, doing land leveling and construction work.
"I I have a fascination with the Big Buds," he says. "I don't know why I have this Big Bud fever, but I guess it's kind of an addictive thing."