by Fred Hendricks
Gene Browning's quest for excellence in the hobby of pedal tractors is on display in a barn dedicated to his collection. His collecting started quite by chance in 1989.
"I went to a farm sale to buy farm equipment. As I walked through the items being offered for sale, I discovered a Murray pedal car resting on a hay wagon. It looked to be in fairly good condition, so I bought the car for $75. I later arranged to have it restored. From that point forward, I have been collecting," Gene reflected.
Since the modest beginning with the Murray pedal car, the pedal tractor craze caught Gene's attention. "Through my work in selling used farm machinery, I became aware of pedal tractors. And, so I would buy one on occasion for my collection," he said.
"I truly cherish the rare, the unique or limited edition pedal tractors. I was fortunate in meeting Gene Gregory and Tom Magnuson, both of whom have been collectors and scratch builders. From my perspective, these men set the standard in high-detail, quality pedal tractors. I bought the only scratch-built Minneapolis-Moline Model R with a cab that Gregory had build for his collection. I now have most of the models built by these craftsmen. Nearly everything in my cache is now scratch-built," he shared.
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