Note: This feature is in the Sept. TF 2018 issue
While some collectors don't have enough space to display all their modles, Ryan Mees, of Lincoln, Neb., solved that problem by loaning 25-30 of his customized models to the National Farm Toy Museum in Dyersville, Iowa.
"Awhile back," Ryan said, "the museum asked a couple members of Pirate Farm Toys to repair and customize some broken models the museum had, and then, if possible, to donate the repaired models back to the museum. I chose to repair and customize an Allis-Chalmers 210."
About a year later, Ryan was thinking about his collection–stored in boxes in his basement–so he contacted the museum about displaying some models on a loan-type basis.
The museum was putting together a display in celebration of John Deere's 100th anniversary of entering the tractor business, and Museum Curator Amanda Schwartz asked to display Ryan's collection of John Deere farm toys, along with his numerous customized pieces.
In August 2017, Ryan and Kerri, his wife, loaded their minivan and drove to Dyersville, Iowa, where his models are on display.
Ryan grew up on a farm founded by his grandfather, Arnold Mees, in southeastern Nebraska. Ryan's father, Dave Mees, eventually took over the farm, growing corn, milo and soybeans.
"I enjoyed my childhood," Ryan said. "Dad loved John Deere tractors, so I got the opportunity to drive several of them, including a John Deere 2510 wide front with a 46A loader that we used as our utility tractor, our cabbed 4020 with slotted duals, and our JD 6620 sidehill combine. My favorite tractor was our JD 4430, which I often drove pulling a grain cart. My fondest memories are driving the 4430 next to Dad on the 6620, working together to get our crops in."