Deer Creek Sodbusters

Deer Creek Sodbusters

Preserving America's Agricultural Heritage

 

This History of our Event and Organization

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The Deer Creek Sodbusters show began as a neighborhood get-together of antique tractor collectors and enthusiasts to plow a wheat stubble field at the farm of Alvin and Letitia Wolff located 4 ½ miles south of Sterling.  The event was organized by Mr. and Mrs. Wolff’s sons Robert (Bob) and John.  The Wolff brothers owned a collection of John Deere tractors which they were proud of and thought it would be fun to organize a “plowing bee” to show off their Deeres and invite friends to bring other antique tractors to show off as well.  The first plowing bee was kind of an informal affair.  But the participants had such a good time, it was decided to make the plowing bee an annual event.  Because the event began as a demonstration of plowing with antique tractors and was sponsored by Bob and John Wolff, for the first few years the show became known as the Wolff Bros. Plowing Bee.  For the second year of the show in 1984, the Wolff brothers did more to promote the event including printing and distributing flyers and inviting the general public to attend as spectators.  The response from the local community was good and the show took off from there.  This second year was also the year that the show added a parade in addition to tractor displays and plowing demonstrations.

The third year the show suffered a slight setback as an inch of slow rain the morning of the event made things quite muddy, too muddy to plow or do much else.  It became evident that in order to maintain the show, other features and attractions would need to be added.  The next year, 1986, the fourth year of the event, the show made a nice recovery from the rain-out the previous year.  This was the first year that the show featured a guest speaker.  During the year, 1986, Alvin and Letitia Wolff moved to town and sold the farm to their son Bob.

As the show continued to grow, it became apparent that it would soon be too much for the Wolff brothers to sponsor on their own.  So following the 1986 show, discussions were held amongst Bob and John and many of the show participants and volunteers about the need to form an organization or antique machinery association to assume responsibility for sponsoring future events.  In January of 1987, an new non-profit corporation was chartered in the State of Nebraska for the purpose of sponsoring the show.  The new organization, Deer Creek Sodbusters, Inc., was named for “Deer Creek” the creek that runs through the Wolff farm and “Sodbusters”since the show’s main attraction was plowing or busting the sod.  “Sodbusters” is also the historic name for the first farmers to settle on the great plains and make their living working the land.

The Sodbusters assumed responsibility of the show in 1987, the fifth annual edition.  Stationary “hit and miss” gas engines were added to the show that year along with antique automobiles, and trucks.  The following year, 1988, threshing, corn shelling and other machinery demonstrations were added including demonstrations of farming with draft horses.  This was also the first year the show featured a steam engine in operation.  The Sodbusters became aware that in order to keep the show going and growing, they needed to add more attractions to entertain the ladies and children who may not be so crazy about the antique tractors and machinery demonstrations.  This lead to also adding a craft show and flea market and a children’s playground and barnyard to the show.   A few years later, the show added an outdoor church service on Sunday morning

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