A vintage tribute to the Broncos makes a home in Humboldt

A vintage tractor that was restored by a Kamsack man and then painted to honour the Humboldt Broncos will have a permanent home in Humboldt.

Larry Larson had brought the 1947 Cockshutt 30 tractor and decided to restore it because he had driven one in his youth. It was near the painting stage when the April 6, 2018, collision happened.

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“That’s when I decided to paint this tractor as a tribute to the Humboldt Broncos, to commemorate the 16 lives lost and to show support for the surviving members and their families,” he told the Kamsack Times back in July 2018.

“I have been a bus driver and a semi driver in the past, so I can empathize with the survivors of the crash and all the families involved.”

The tractor also lists the names of the 16 on both its left and right sides.

After the restoration work was done, Larson wasn't sure if Kamsack, or nearby Yorkton, was the place to keep the tractor. That’s when a travelling salesman visiting Kamsack phoned Ken Klassen, a member of the Humboldt Area and Vintage Antique Club, to tell him about the tractor.

The club, located south of Humboldt, has a collection of more than 100 tractors, as well as around 100 members, some of which own 12 to 15 vintage tractors themselves.

Klassen gave Larson a phone call.

“I told him about our museum, what we're all about and how we would be more than thrilled to have this tractor because we felt Humboldt was the place for it,” he said.

Klassen added that the club would feature it in parades, something that Larson had intended for the tractor to be used for.

“After talking to him,” Klassen said, “he said he'd have to discuss it with his wife and within a couple of hours they called me back and said, ‘The tractor is yours.’”

Larson had donated the tractor to the club, which Klassen describes as “an agricultural museum which is totally run by volunteers.”

Upon learning of the confirmation of the donation, Klassen, Craig Poncelet and Ralph Kiefer leapt into action.

“We didn't waste any time,” he said. “Within a couple days we were down there.”

The tractor is now with the club.

“It's going to be a great honour because this will be with us for forever,” said Klassen, adding that it’s something that will remind the club to never forget what happened.

Klassen said the restoration work on the tractor was “very well done.”

“These tractors were very popular back in their day,” he said of the Cockshutt 30. “There was a dealership here in town and there was lots of them sold in the area, but not too many of them exist today anymore.”

A restored 1947 Cockshutt 30 can go from $3,500 to $5,500. The club will be getting it properly appraised and will issue Larson a charitable receipt.

The tractor will be featured in the Summer Sizzler, (the annual Humboldt exhibition), but Klassen said those that want to have a look at it sooner can get in contact with the club to arrange a viewing.

“This tribute tractor is a display from my heart to the players and their families to show them they will not be forgotten,” Larson said.

A memorial for the Humboldt Broncos will be held on April 6 at the Humboldt Arena, and the tribute tractor, restored by Larson, will likely be on display at the event.