Red Power Round Up event celebrates International Harvester

Preparations to display hundreds of vintage International Harvester tractors, trucks and other products went on Tuesday at the Clark County Fairgrounds in anticipation of the Red Power Round Up, an international gathering of IH collectors who will display their items Thursday through Saturday. BRETT TURNER/CONTRIBUTED

Combined ShapeCaption
Preparations to display hundreds of vintage International Harvester tractors, trucks and other products went on Tuesday at the Clark County Fairgrounds in anticipation of the Red Power Round Up, an international gathering of IH collectors who will display their items Thursday through Saturday. BRETT TURNER/CONTRIBUTED

Fans and collectors of products created by an organization that includes one of Springfield’s largest employers are traveling to Springfield from all over the country and as far as New Zealand to celebrate and share their collections of all things International Harvester.

The 33rd annual Red Power Round Up showcases more than a century’s worth of International Harvester products including trucks, farm equipment, memorabilia and even things people had no idea they made, through Saturday at the Clark County Fairgrounds, 4401 South Charleston Pike.

It is open to everyone and admission is $10 a day or $25 for a three-day pass; children ages 12 and younger will be admitted free. The event is presented by the International Harvester Collectors Club and hosted by Ohio Chapter 6; this is the first time the show has been held here.

The Red Power Round Up will be more than just a gathering of collectors. It will display large and small items, but offer live music, speakers, kids’ activities, sales and about anything that ties into IH.

Around 500 trucks and tractors will be traveling here from Canada and domestically and this is the chance for Springfield, which became affiliated with IH in the early 20th Century and now known as Navistar, to see the wealth of things it created. Ed Kranz, who has lived and worked in this area for years and is one of the event steering committee members, is excited to finally have the Round Up in a town that produced the company’s trucks for decades.

“This is kind of a birthplace,” he said. “We’ll fill the runways (of the fairgrounds). You’ll see trucks and far equipment everywhere.”

This will be the result of several years of work. Bids to host have to be made five to six years ahead of time, and when Springfield won it meant three years of planning as many of these shows opt to set up at state fairgrounds and such, with plenty of space for campgrounds and accommodations as an estimated 10-20,000 visitors will be here, with many preregistrations than typical. The fairgrounds proved ideal and open to hosting.

“This is some people’s annual vacation. It’s a passion for the people who collect IH,” Kranz said. “Some of these owners have spent thousands of dollars restoring them and some are in better shape than when they came out of the factory.”

One of the highlights will be the 75th anniversary of the Farmall Cub and KB Series trucks. There will also be several tractors and the stories behind them.

“The stories are as interesting as the tractors,” said Kranz.

This is also a rare opportunity to see unusual IH products including automobiles produced from 1910-12, five of which will be displayed. Also items such as freezers, refrigerators and even rifles manufactured for the U.S. cause during World War II.

The most unique item according to Kranz will be a cotton picker prototype set to be destroyed but rescued and this will be the first and only public display before going to an IH museum.

“IH built a tremendous number of products over the years and these are unusual items a lot of people didn’t know they made,” said Kranz.

Another highlight is a display of memorabilia. Live music will be performed each day, and a Springfield native and Shawnee High graduate will be the entertainment headliner – Allison Kelly and the Backline Band will perform classic country and 1950s and ‘60s hits at 7 p.m. Friday.

Visit Greater Springfield has helped coordinate the event locally.

“It’s a really big deal and it’s great to welcome in such a large number of visitors,” said Kelcie Webster, visitor center and marketing coordinator for GSP. “This will be very special for Springfield.”

Kranz is also proud to show the area’s culture, with some of the visiting collectors touring the Navistar plant along with the U.S. Air Force Museum and other local places of interest.

He advises interested community members to attend one of the three days as the show may not come back here in many years if at all.

“Springfield may not be a large town, but there’s a lot of good things and people here and it’s great to share the things we have here. This belongs here, it’s IH country with a lot of IH retirees and I’m excited we’re having it,” Kranz said.

Gates open at 7:30 a.m. through Saturday. For more information on the event, go to rpru2022.com.

HOW TO GO

What: 33rd annual Red Power Round Up

Where: Clark County Fairgrounds, 4401 South Charleston Pike, Springfield

When: Today and Saturday

Admission: $10 for one day or $25 for three days. Children 12 and younger are free.

More info: rpru2022.com

About the Author