(Le Mars) — Visitors to the famous round barn are always anxious to view the array of models as displayed by Jim DeBoer of Orange City. DeBoer has featured his hand-made toy replicas of farm equipment for at least ten years.
From a distance, a person would naturally assume DeBoer has a collection of toys, similar to many other people that have taken up the hobby of collecting farm-related toys. However, upon closer observation, and viewers will notice the delicate, and intricate specific details of the models. Upon even a closer look and you will notice these models are not made of die-cast metal
like many toys, but rather each of them is constructed of wood. DeBoer, who is 92 years young, says he enjoys his hobby of creating farm-related equipment from wood, and has been doing it for several years.
DeBoer says all together, he has created more than 100 pieces, with many of them taking hundreds of hours to build, and requiring a great deal of patience.
DeBoer says his collection is not yet complete, and he has plans to create additional models.
DeBoer likes to share information about his hobby with others, and many people shake their heads in disbelief when they view the models and listen to DeBoer’s story.
Anyone that views DeBoer’s creations will quickly notice he favors the colors of green and yellow and features many John Deere scaled models. However, you can’t help but notice there is an older style orange colored Case tractor with the same colored square hay baler. DeBoer says he created those pieces
because of his brother’s insistence.
As mentioned, DeBoer has displayed his unique wooden model farm tractors and other farm-related equipment for more than a decade, but folks still look forward to seeing his display. DeBoer also had the display on exhibit during the recent RAGBRAI bicycle event, which lead to people from all parts of the
country amazed at his hobby. Many people often take a second look, especially when they realize that not only does DeBoer create an exact scaled replica, but he also has moving parts on his models.
DeBoer enjoys showing a model John Deere tractor with a three-point hitch that actually moves when you move a tiny lever. He demonstrates how the wooden creation can be hooked up to a model field cultivator that raises and lowers simply by moving a small lever. When visiting the Plymouth County Fair, I encourage you to visit the famous round barn and start up a conversation with Jim DeBoer. You will walk away amazed at all of his
creations, and of his spirit.