on Monday, July 31, 2017
Greg Peterson, widely known as “Machinery Pete” has been researching and tracking machinery auction prices since 1989. He made a stop at our Mexico dealership in mid-June of 2017 when he was on the road with U.S. Farm Report’s Tyne Morgan. They completed a number of stops and interviews while they were in Northeast Missouri. Greg was fortunate to get the scoop on the famous Cajun Queen pulling tractor that Eddie Sydenstricker & then Service Manager, Van Botkins had in the early 1970s. Eddie began pulling in 1968 with a red tractor, but by 1970 he was ready to beat them with a green tractor and that they did! What became the first Cajun Queen was a 1970 John Deere 4020 with a 404 engine. Van turned that engine into what eventually would be the 466 engine. Researchers from John Deere came to see the engine at the Louisville pull in 1972 and then requested it in Waterloo. So, on a trip up to will call in Waterloo to pick up a load of tractors we took them the engine which they tested all winter and it was during that time that they came up with the dual turbo system. The ideas from that Cajun Queen engine were used in John Deere’s 466 engine which John Deere started using in the 1978 40 series tractors clear up to the early 8000 series tractors. The 466 engine was used for 16 years. There were three Cajun Queen tractors…the first was a 4020, the second a 4320 (505 engine), and third a 4430. All three Cajun Queens won at Louisville! With families at home, Eddie and Van finished up their pulling careers in 1975.
Greg and Eddie continued their conversation with a short tour of the Mexico showroom where we have a fully restored 1972 John Deere 4020 on display as well as John Deere bicycles & a John Deere race car. Eddie disappeared to his office and came back with a plaque that he was given at his first John Deere meeting. It reads, “There is no limit to what a man can do, where he can go, if he doesn’t mind who gets the credit.” When asked what his secret to success is, Eddie says, “Surround yourself with the right people…that’s what my dad taught me.” When asked what it was like working with his dad, Ralph, Eddie said, “Oh, we didn’t always agree, but we made it work.” When asked what he has loved most about his business, Eddie said, “The people I do business with…the repeat customers…I don’t like to overpromise…treat them like they want to be treated.”
Greg also visited with Kim & Lee Ann, Eddie’s daughters. When asked what it has been like to work with their dad, Kim said, “It is a very special time for both of us to be able to work with our dad, he’s in good health, he’s very passionate about the business, and he loves what he is doing every single day. So it’s been exciting for the whole family to be together.” Lee Ann said, “It’s fun to learn new things and I never would’ve thought when I was a child that I’d be back working in the John Deere business, that’s for sure, but it’s been very fun to do that and learn lots of new things everyday.”
The conversation ended with Eddie & Greg talking about the slogan of Eddie’s pulling tractors... “If she goes, she goes. If she blows, she blows.”