Home | Columns | Photos | Books | Biography | Mental Health | Links

Barry Schrader


I currently write a column each Tuesday for the DeKalb Daily Chronicle. The column will also appear on this website each week and be added to the archives.

The Articles started December 2007.


If you've missed any please follow the links on the dates to catch up.

Archive Page

Farm Show a trinket collector's treasure trove

By Barry Schrader.................................January 12, 2010

Armed with my DeKalb County Farm Bureau membership card, I once again trekked over to the Northern Illinois University Convocation Center last week for another Northern Illinois Farm Show.
This year, I got smart and went the first morning while there were still plenty of freebies. After an hour of circulating among hundreds of farmers and scores of booths, I came away with some three dozen trinkets and even some useful tools for around the house.
My vote for best yardstick of the show goes to 1st Farm Credit Services that combined a walking stick and measuring stick. You might even be able to put a spike on the end and use a pair of them for cross country ski poles!
Then there was the calendar competition. My favorites were the Orginal Classic Farm Tractors calendar from Farmers Helping Farmers Company in Hinckley and the big colorful scenic calendar offered by Hintzsche Oil of Maple Park. A close third was the Country Memories paintings calendar provided free by Burright Welding of Mt. Morris.

This stuffed horse named Whinny was given away at the 2010 Farm Show by State Farm.

Moving on to trinkets, the most clever item I came across was a little red ball that hangs on your pet’s collar and lights up at night so you can track the little fellow outside as he goes about his business. This came from Hill’s Pet Company. NAPA Auto Parts, the show sponsor, had a roulette-type wheel you spun to win a variety of small prizes. The most sought-after was a NAPA logo cap, but I had to settle for a two-headed screwdriver that clips into your shirt pocket. Realizing that I might stab myself, I relegated it to our kitchen utility drawer. But it will get used.
Thanks to State Farm, which provided large goodie bags at its booth, I was able to carry my stash out to the car with no problem. I saw Farm Bureau President Paul Rasmussen in the parking lot, and I bet he wondered what I was lugging in that big red sack. State Farm also had you sign up for a rocking-horse-sized stuffed pony in a drawing to be conducted at show’s end. Giving out my phone number reluctantly, I nonetheless joined those coveting the cute little animal dubbed Whinny. I haven’t gotten a call from them yet, not even from a phone solicitor.
My favorite piece of lawn equipment was a Dixie Chopper billed as “the world’s fastest lawn mower.” Their Xcaliber model is nothing like the 18-inch wide mower I used to ride from Falls Products in Genoa when you barely could get up an incline on the two-wheeled cart behind it. This 21st Century riding mower has a 74-inch cutting deck and covers 8.9 acres of lawn per hour. It even features a 12-volt adapter for your cell phone or iPod, a real incentive to get that teenager in your family outdoors cutting the grass.
It’s too bad the show doesn’t draw the big equipment like you see in the fields. If they were there, I might climb into the driver’s seat of a $250,000 combine and pretend to know what I am doing up there. I would even be happy with a 1950s tractor, maybe one from Dick Fowler’s collection. This Genoa farmer could fill the hallways with his assemblage of Minneapolis-Molines. I think the show promoters would be wise to bring in some memorable machines from the past.
I also enjoy listening to conversations going on around me. I like what one farmer had to say when asked how things are going. “Every day is good,” he responded. Now that’s the kind of attitude we all need to adopt, whether we had a good harvest or only a fair return this year.

Home | Columns | Photos | Books | Biography | Mental Health | Links

The columnist can be reached via email at :


or by snailmail at:

Barry Schrader
PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115