Thursday, 19 April 2018 06:57

Passion for old tractors fuels Maple Creek man

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It was a Prairie moment. I was sitting in Dennis Hoyer’s living room interviewing him about antique tractors.


Country music records were stacked neatly on the coffee table. A horseshoe hung over the fireplace and the picture frames on the wall were made from barn wood. A few pulleys from an old threshing machine were piled under the stereo – and somehow they didn’t seem out of place. Like I said, it was a Prairie moment.
Dennis was explaining to me that he enjoys restoring antique tractors for a few reasons. “I get a real thrill out of starting an old machine up and driving it around,” he said. But there’s more to his passion. He said old tractors are a conversation piece that allow him to connect with people, especially farmers his age or older who operated similar machinery during a bygone era. “I love the fellowship,” Dennis shared. 
The Hoyer farm where Dennis grew was eight miles northwest of Edenwold, Sask., which is a village of 200 people located 30 miles northeast of Regina. Dennis was born Oct. 4, 1940 and one of this 77-year-old’s earliest memories is of his dad seeding crops with horses. Dennis remembers running toward the team of horses through the dry summer fallow so he could hop on the seeder and go for a ride with his dad.
As an adult, Dennis traded the farm for the city, but he maintained his interest in agricultural equipment. Because of the green paint in his veins, Dennis has restored four John Deeres; this includes a 1946 A along with a 1929, a 1936 and a 1938 D. His dream project would be to restore a 1952 John Deere AR.
Dennis recently acquired a 1964 Allis-Chalmers D17 Series III. He inherited the D17 after his friend passed away. “This tractor belonged to Les Anderson,” Dennis said. Les ranched a few miles from Maple Creek and used the Allis-Chalmers as his general purpose tractor.
    Dennis has started restoring his friend’s old tractor. It wasn’t used for the past five years and it has all of 500 hours on its rebuilt six cylinder diesel engine. The D17 only needs some electrical work and to be repainted. 
Generally speaking, people who restore tractors are very mechanically inclined, but Dennis admits he’s not. He relies on manuals to help him disassemble and reassemble tractors. In the case of the D17, his friends will lend a hand to repair the electrical system.
Working on the tractor with friends provides Dennis with camaraderie and he enjoys the sight of the finished project. “It’s a sense of accomplishment,” he said in regards to restorations.
Dennis’ other interests are country and gospel music. Since retiring to Maple Creek in 2006, this former Regina city police officer published a book titled “Hearing God’s Calling.” This memoir recounts the trials and tribulations of Dennis’ thorny life before he discovered that God was talking care of him. Dennis is currently writing his next book. It’s called “Are You a Silent Christian?”
Because of the rather foul spring weather, Dennis hasn’t been able to work on the tractor as much as he’d like. Nevertheless, he hopes to complete the restoration towards the end of May. He plans to drive the D17 in local parades

Dominique Liboiron is a speaker, author, teacher, journalist and photographer. To raise awareness about heart disease and to honour the life of one of its victims, Liboiron canoed from Saskatchewan to New Orleans. He is the first person to undertake that journey. He enjoys outdoor sports such as camping, hunting, fly fishing and canoeing. For more info  about his speaking engagements, phone 306-661-8975 or visit www.canoetoneworleans.com.

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Dominique Liboiron

Dominique Liboiron is a speaker, author, teacher, journalist and photographer. To raise awareness about heart disease and to honour the life of one of its victims, Liboiron canoed from Saskatchewan to New Orleans. He is the first person to undertake that journey. He enjoys outdoor sports such as camping, hunting, fly fishing and canoeing.