September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.

A gift from Dad

Twin Weber sisters enjoy custom tractors
Tia and Tara look over one of the custom tractors. Each tractor was painted their favorite color and restored to working condition. <br /><!-- 1upcrlf -->PHOTO BY CASSIE OLSON
Tia and Tara look over one of the custom tractors. Each tractor was painted their favorite color and restored to working condition. <br /><!-- 1upcrlf -->PHOTO BY CASSIE OLSON

By By Cassie [email protected] | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

DORCHESTER, Wis. - Dan Weber is a man of many hats. By trade, he is known as a dairy farmer of 50 cows on his farm near Dorchester, Wis. He is also a farm toy collector and an enthusiast of all things John Deere. Dan shares his love of John Deere equipment and merchandise with his wife, Tammy, and twin daughters, Tara and Tia, who he surprised with customized tractors for their 16th birthdays May 1.
Dan's love of collecting John Deere items began in 1985 when one particular toy caught his attention.
"I had bought a John Deere A tractor with rubber wheels," Dan said. "Soon after I heard that Ertl had a John Deere A with steel wheels, and I thought that was pretty neat. I drove over to Merril so I could get one; I wanted that toy so bad, and it all snowballed from there."
Over the years, Dan and his family have continued to grow their collection of farm toys and antiques to produce an impressive display that has been taken to shows. Growing up, Tia and Tara got involved with the shows, as well. Together, the Weber family created Weber's World of Deere and Dairy, LLC.
"I love going to shows and sharing our display with people," Tara said. "Over the years, we have come to be noted as the John Deere people in the community."
With their 16th birthdays approaching this past May, Dan wanted to give them something special to commemorate the day. For years, he had two tractors in the shed he had purchased for the girls: a John Deere '28 GP and a John Deere '29 GP. When he purchased the tractors, however, Dan did not realize their hidden significance.
"Tia was born at 8:28 and Tara was born at 8:29," Dan said. "I didn't realize it until I was going to fix them up, but it made them just that more special to give them the '28 and '29 respectively."
The girls had known of the tractors for years, and often discussed restoring them with their father. Tara recalled talking about restoring the tractors a year prior.
"We always would ask him when we could start working on them," Tara said.
Dan would answer them.
"I kept telling them someday we would eventually work on them together," he said.
But Dan had plans of his own. Starting in September 2015, Dan took the tractors to his cousin's nearby farm. Once in the shop, they disassembled the tractors to begin fixing them to get into working order. The tractors were taken to a motor shop and body shop where they were worked on and painted purple and pink, Tia and Tara's favorite colors, respectively.
Dan is thankful for the help he received while restoring the tractors.
"There were a lot of hands working on them," Dan said. "This wouldn't have gotten done had it not been for all the help."
Work continued on the tractors until three days before the girls' birthday. Dan and Tammy had organized a surprise party, inviting many family and friends from the Dorchester community.
When the girls arrived at the Stetsonville Community Center, Tia said she couldn't believe it.
"I was speechless," Tia said. "I thought our brother was dropping something off; we had no idea and there were over 100 people there."
Waiting outside were the tractors. Having kept the whole event a surprise, Dan said he felt relieved.
"I couldn't believe we had kept it a secret; I've never been good at keeping secrets," Dan said. "Once word got out what we were doing, everyone showed up. It was quite the party with two shocked girls."
Tara could not believe her dad had worked on the tractors for so long without her knowing.
"We noticed they weren't around, but when we asked about them he just said they were in the other shed," Tara said. "Well, we never went in there, so we had no idea."
The twins agreed that collecting antiques and farm toys is something they both would like to continue doing in the future. While Tia hopes to continue growing her family's farm toy display and taking it to area shows, Tara has developed a collection of her own.
"I would like to own a bakery someday," Tara said. "My dad and I like to collect antiques, so I like to look for things that I could fit into a bakery."
Dan said searching for a coveted item, whether it is the perfect toy tractor or a rare antique, is thrilling.
"I love the adventure of finding them," Dan said. "On top of that, it's going to shows and being able to show a younger generation what things were like years ago."
The twins intend on taking their tractors to be displayed next June at the Wisconsin State FFA Convention in Madison, Wis. While they are thankful to each have beautifully restored tractors to call their own, they are even more thankful to have a hobby their whole family can enjoy.[[In-content Ad]]


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