MAKOTI, N.D. | The Makoti Threshing Show takes time each year to celebrate history and give the public an opportunity to look back on the foundation of farming and appreciate what it has become today. Each year they choose a Featured Tractor to lead the daily parade and feature on their annual button.
This year's feature was a 1935 Caterpillar R5 model restored by John Novodvorsky Jr. and his son Jason Novodvorsky out of Douglas. The Caterpillar was a Civilian Conservation Corps tractor.
"We bought it at an estate auction by Center, North Dakota," Jason explained. "I don't know where it was used during its Civilian Conservation Corps days."
The Civilian Conservation Corps, or CCC, was a public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1942 for unemployed and unmarried men. The CCC was a major part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal that provided unskilled manual labor jobs related to the conservation and development of natural resources in rural lands.
John Novodvorsky Jr. worked extensively on the tractor — rebuilding the engine himself and repainting the sheet metal pieces one at a time — 10 years ago before sending the project to storage.
Once taken out of storage, John finished the assembly and applied the final coat of point. Jason Novodvorsky spent many weeks leading up to the Threshing Show adding the finishing touches.
"It wasn't my plan," Jason Novodvorsky said about being the feature tractor for the Makoti Threshing Show. "It was all my dad. I'm really happy with it, the tractor runs great. When I got done with it I was really satisfied."
Jason Novodvorsky used one word to describe how the past weeks were for him: stress. Even with a full-time job, he found the time and spent every spare moment he had making sure the Caterpillar was running and functional for the recent show.
"Every Saturday that I've had available I've been working on this," Jason said. "I'm very pleased with how it works and how things turned out. I wish (my father) would've come today to drive it, and I hope he comes tomorrow to drive it."
John Novodvorsky Jr. has rebuilt many tractors — some of them also were featured in the parade and at the show — and Jason would help his father mainly by locating and hauling the tractors. Jason Novodvorsky recalled that the Caterpillar was one of the heaviest tractors he's ever had winched up to his trailer.
"It's something we've done together," Jason said. "I own the whole collection now. There's a lot of them. I'm very happy with how things turned out."
Whether it was John or Jason Novodvorsky in the seat of the tractor, the 1935 Caterpillar was the star of the Makoti Threshing Show parade followed by many other pieces of classic machinery and cars that will transport visitors back in time.