The 2016 Gathering of the Green is history and will long be remembered.
Nearly 3000 John Deere fans flooded the RiverCenter in Davenport, Iowa over the four days of the March 2016 conference coming from 40 states in the USA, Canada, United Kingdom and Sweden. These John Deere aficionados enjoy everything green and yellow, but particularly enjoy making new friends, renewing acquaintances, talking tractors and celebrating the legacy of John Deere. After hosting nine Gatherings, we can honestly say that it has become more than a conference, it has become a family reunion. Everyone associated with the planning continually comments that Gathering folks are friendly, considerate, and have a passion for all things John Deere. As one gentleman stated, “Not only was it the Gathering of the Green, but it was the Gathering of Enthusiastic Fans.” Well said! Comments like this provide the motivation for the future.
The Gathering banquet keynote speaker, Dr. Jerry Apps, remarked in his blog the following day, “I must say I haven’t seen so much green in one place in a long while.” And he was correct as not only were there green John Deere tractors and implements on display throughout the spacious and beautiful RiverCenter, but a record number of John Deere enthusiasts, the large majority wearing the green and yellow John Deere logo, enjoyed everything about this our 9th Gathering…attending great workshops, shopping the vendor hall (one said, if John Deere made it, it was probably in the vendor hall), enjoying our speakers, going on tours, attending the fun auction, viewing the awesome exhibits which mirrored our 2016 theme, “Forge to Farm,” and partaking in the ending banquet.
In an article which appeared in the March 2016 issue of Green Magazine, we asked if Mr. John Deere would attend the “Gathering of the Green?” Reflecting on this year’s awesome event, we think Mr. John Deere would attend and be “blown away” by the Gathering’s atmosphere, magnitude and role in supporting our wonderful pastime.
As for the future...as they say on the radio, “Stay Tuned!”
Dr. Jerry Apps, 2016 Banquet Speaker, comments on the Gathering of the Green -
Dr. Jerry Apps, well-known speaker, story teller and author, was the banquet keynote speaker at the 2016 Gathering of the Green conference in Davenport, Iowa. Dr. Apps review of this awesome event on his weblog follows:
“It’s not easy being green,” sang Kermit the Frog of Muppets fame. But really, it is, especially if it’s a John Deere tractor.
Kristin Gilpatrick, Marketing Manager for the Wisconsin Historical Society Press and I trekked off Saturday to the capitol of green for a week—Davenport, Iowa. We attended the 2016 “Gathering of the Green” convention along with about 3,000 others from 40 states, Canada, England and Sweden.
The convention was dedicated to John Deere antique tractor restorers, collectors, and those who, as kids on the farm, had fallen in love with a green John Deere Tractor and never got over it.
Lovers of Green spent last week attending historical and technical workshops where they could learn some of the skills necessary to make an old two-cylinder green tractor run once more, or merely stand looking at a John Deere, high wheeled wagon filled with ear corn, and remember picking corn by hand and filling one of those wagons. Countless exhibits of antique John Deere tractors, plows, corn pickers, combines, and more brought back tears, memories and stories. Oh, so many stories.
Saturday night, 600 of these green lovers listened to me talk about the first tractor on the Apps farm. It wasn’t green, but a bright, shiny red, Farmall H. I got a polite “boo” for that story.
I went on to talk about the values gained from growing up on a farm, and how they never leave a farm kid. I even got a round of applause when I stated one of my dad’s favorite sayings: “Just because you have a lot of education doesn’t mean you know anything.”
It was a great evening — I must say I haven’t seen so much green in one place in a long while.
NEW... See some pictures from previous Gatherings. Click on what you'd like to see.
Machinery Pete Interviews Gathering Co-founder Ken Reese
Machinery Pete interviewed Ken Reese and posted the video on YouTube.
To see it, just click on the picture above. It will open on a new page.
Would Mr. John Deere have enjoyed the Gathering of the Green?
We think he would and we think he would be truly amazed at the result of his creative work on a simple anvil in a one-forge shop over 175 years ago. What arose from that polished steel plow is a global company and the world’s largest manufacturer of agricultural equipment. The quality of his company has spawned a legion of admirers second to none. Yes, John Deere would be mightily impressed with the admiration and passion John Deere collectors and restorers have for his equipment. And yes, he would enjoy the Gathering…..workshops, vendors, trips/tours, speakers and displays.
WHY DO WE DO THIS?
During the course of one of the past Gatherings, this writer was asked an interesting question by one of our guests…”Just why do you folks (the four sponsoring clubs) do this? (offer the “Gathering of the Green?”) I must say that I had to give that some thought.
The four sponsoring clubs meet every other year at Grand Detour, John Deere’s home, for a tractor show, and during a group meeting there during the 1999 show, Mark Johnson, an NEITCC member, shared that he had recently attended a conference sponsored by another tractor company. Given the fact that no such conference had ever been sponsored for John Deere enthusiasts, it was his opinion that our four groups together could create such an event for our faithful green and yellow collectors. After some serious conversation, the group agreed to give it a try, and the rest is history.
I know that bit of history doesn’t answer the original question…”Why do we do this?” We do this because of…YOU…ALL OF YOU! We do this because you are so very appreciative of our efforts and you offer your kind understanding when everything doesn’t run perfectly. We do this because of your generous, positive comments. We do this because you are friendly and eager to share your love of John Deere products. No one “talks tractors” better than GOG attendees. We thrive on your kindness, friendliness, and eagerness to strike up a conversation. You never fail to share your enthusiasm for the activities we have offered during the event, and that is so deeply appreciated. The amazingly kind comments so many of you share when completing the opinion form at the closing banquet are so meaningful for us. We honestly don’t know whether to smile or cry. Thank you so very much!
So, that’s “why we do this.” Thank you so much for joining us at “Gathering of the Green” 2016 and for sharing your warmth and kindness so freely. It’s what keeps us going. If you weren’t able to join us, plan to do so in the future.
The "Gathering of the Green is sponsored by
four John Deere antique tractor clubs: