Farm Toy Show offers variety

NEW ULM – Model farming enthusiasts have a wide variety of items to view this weekend at the 29th Annual Farm Toy Show at the New Ulm Civic Center.

Some exhibitors have many factory-made implements and trucks for sale. Others have scratch-built models, sometimes scale models of implements they had on their own farms. Some people build barns and entire farm yards.

Curtis E. Kiecker of New Ulm, who grew peas, sweet corn and sometimes wheat for a half century just north of Fairfax, continues his farming passion with a working model corn dryer with a grinding system, tractors, rotary plows, trailers that tip to dump their loads, and trucks with opening doors and a hinged engine hood revealing a detailed engine compartment and truck interior.

Kiecker builds some of the models in the basement of his home. In case he needs parts he can’t make, he’ll often have them mail ordered from Dakota Toy, Madison, S.D.

His hobby can be profitable too. Years ago, he sold a Minneapolis-Moline 64 tractor he invested about $500 in for $3,250 at a farm toy auction in Decatur, Ill.

Kiecker has placed high in a number of farm toy contests including a national contest in Dyersville, Iowa.

His favorite truck is a 1972 Chevrolet 60 series with many working parts and interior, under the hood and chassis details. Not far behind is his 1957 Ford truck.

Kiecker and Chris Burmeister of New Ulm can be found regularly at national farm toy show contests. Both have placed at in them.

Burmeister takes a little different tack, building scale model farm including barns, silos, bins, elevators, semi tractor trailers, tractors, trees, implements, beef cattle, fertilizer he uses as feed, and other details.

“I sold one (scale model) farm here at the show today,” Burmeister said. “I’ll start making another one.”

Jeff Borth of Fairfax created a business focusing on filling in gaps in the 1/64 scale farm boy world with custom and scratch-built models. His products include baggers, silage tables, feed/hopper bins, tile plow sets, tile spools, nurse trailers, cabinets, side tanks, rock boxes with and without weights, barn fans, steer stuffers, barn cleaners, John Deer 8320, Case IH MX 135 and New Holland T7050 tractors.

Show exhibitor Dave Morrow of Mankato featured scale model cars and trucks including models from decades gone by. His collection included science fiction monster figures.

Farm toy show manager Brad Zender of Butterfield said he appreciated the air conditioned show in the civic center after working on his farm outside during the work week.

Zender began the New Ulm farm toy show in 1985 that draws people from across the Midwest and from states on the east and west coast on occasion.

He said the show is about toys but people often enjoy meeting and talking to people with like interests from near and far plus seeing old friends again.

Many of the farm toy show enthusiasts follow a toy show circuit that includes events in Dyersville, Iowa (where the baseball movie “Field of Dreams” was filmed; plus Fargo, N.D. and Aberdeen, S.D., among others.

Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at

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