Grandpa’s tractor

West Marshall FFA student earned top honors at State Fair with his restored ‘69 Ford

-Messenger photo by Kriss Nelson
Nate Casady stands with the 1969 8000 Ford tractor he restored. Casady won grand champion honors with the tractor at the 2017 Iowa State Fair.

MARSHALLTOWN — Nate Casady grew up admiring his grandpa, Duane Brinkman’s, tractor. The tractor had been his grandfather’s for most of the tractor’s 49 years.

Casady said his grandfather owned and operated Brinkman Tractor and Implement in Clarion and sold the 1969 8000 Ford tractor when it was new.

It was just one year later his grandpa got the tractor back in on a trade in.

“He had some farm ground up in Clarion, and he decided to keep it and farm with it,” Casady said.

His grandfather later sold the dealership and eventually moved to Marshalltown, keeping the tractor in storage for several years before parting ways with in 2010.

-Messenger photo by Kriss Nelson
Nate Casady sits on the 1969 8000 Ford tractor he restored.

Casady said he watched his brother, Tyler, rebuild a few tractors and knew it was something he wanted to do. And he knew just the tractor he wanted to do it with.

“I had decided I wanted to do an 8000 like grandpa’s, or even better, would be grandpa’s actual 8000,” he said. “I would always look at grandpa’s tractor sitting in the back corner of his building for years. I always thought it was a cool-looking tractor and I knew it had history to it.”

It was 2014, and when Casady was looking for a tractor to rebuild, his grandpa received a phone call.

“It was the gentleman that he had sold his tractor to,” he said. “He asked grandpa if he wanted his 8000 back. He asked my dad and my dad said we will be on our way today.”

Casady and his dad, Todd Casady, took off for Tipton to recover the family heirloom.

When they arrived with a truck and trailer, they soon found out the old 8000 Ford had seen better days.

“The first thing the guy did was tried to service it and didn’t put any fluids back in it,” he said. “The transmission was shot, the engine was shot, the rear end was shot. We barely got it up on the trailer.”

The entire tractor received an overhaul, but not with some extreme challenges.

“The biggest challenge, basically, when I came into this thing in 2014, was I knew some stuff. I could turn a wrench, but I didn’t know everything and the first thing that dad told me to do was to tear down the transmission. It was stuff like that I didn’t know how to do,” he said. “But I luckily had the resources.”

Casady spent a lot of time in salvage yards looking for parts but was fortunate to have assistance from the technicians in his family’s shop at Central Iowa Farm Store in Marshalltown, as well as some parts on-hand.

“I had some help from the technicians in the shop,” he said. “But they never did anything without me. I was always there and they helped me out. I thought I had it pretty good being in a full shop with technicians, but it still took me three years.”

He had intentions of having the tractor ready for the 2016 Iowa State Fair. He missed that deadline, but was able to take it on a local tractor ride that summer to test things out.

Work continued until Casady became sick.

He suffered from intracranial hypertension. With increased spinal fluid putting pressure on his eyes, he experienced blurred vision for a year.

“I had to quit working on the tractor,” he said. “I took a year off and it sat down in the shed.”

When he was well enough to start working on it again, it was time for a full engine overhaul and then, eventually, it was time for a new paint job.

“It took three years to do it. It was a big deal,” he said. “It runs like a new tractor. I brought it home in June 2017 and was able to take it on another tractor ride before the Iowa State Fair.”

Although the tractor was running great it was still missing one thing: a canopy.

Casady said his dad advertised they were looking for one on a Ford tractor social media page and finally found one.

“It took the entire three years to find a canopy,” he said.

2017 Iowa State Fair

Casady said his main focus was to restore his grandpa’s tractor and enter it at the Iowa State Fair, and he was able to last summer.

He knew he would do well, but the end result was one he never expected.

“All I wanted was a purple ribbon,” he said. “Judging started at 8 a.m. The first two judges came around. I thought I was done for the day, but decided to sit out there a little longer. Two turned into four, four turned in to 14. I kind of knew then that it was going to happen.”

Later that day, Casady was awarded 2017 FFA Restored Tractor Grand Champion. He received his purple ribbon and more.

“I won a free one year lease on a Delta gooseneck trailer and ribbon and a trophy,” he said.

His first phone call after his award ceremony was to his grandpa.

“He was crying,” Casady said. “I was crying.”

The 1969 8000 Ford and Casady also got to attend a tractor parade during the Iowa State Fair, where he was the lead project for the 2017 Parade of Champions.

Grandpa’s tractor

Casady said his grandpa’s tractor will only be used for tractor rides and some tractor shows. He already has several tractor rides scheduled for this summer.

He is using his tractor for his FFA-supervised agricultural experience (SAE).

“I am working on filling out the proficiency application for my SAE project and will be entering it for FFA competitions in ag mechanics,” he said.

Mainly, he is happy to have it done for his grandpa.

“It is really important for me to get it done while grandpa was still around,” he said. “Now, I will always have something to remember grandpa by. My dad learned how to drive on this tractor. Grandma was always around the tractor too. It’s a family tractor.”