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Goodmanns find ‘needle in haystack’ family tractor

By Kayleigh Rahn
“It’s that old ugly one there,” Clint Goodmann says as he points into the machine shed.

Parked front and center is a 1973 Series I Cougar Steiger–a mean and green, beefy and boxy piece of farm equipment.

The paint is worn and the engine needs work, but Clint and his sons Hans, Waylen, and Linus are thrilled at the site of the tractor on family soil.

The Steiger was put to work on the Goodmann farm–located on the Champaign-Douglas county line road a stone’s throw east of the Kaskaskia–after Clint’s grandpa Hans Goodmann, uncle Joe Goodmann, and father John Goodmann purchased it new in 1973 at Birkey’s Farm Store in Rantoul. In the 1970s, the Goodmanns’ Steiger was a rare piece of equipment for the area, Clint recalled. The Goodmanns were drawn to the machine for the engine before other brands were taking on a comparable size and power.

“It wasn’t a one-of-a-kind, but there wasn’t that many people who had them, so it was kind of a big deal for us,” he said.

Clint’s father John was the machine’s primary operator when it was used on Central Illinois soil for disking and fall work in fields within a 10-mile radius of their shop. In 1994, Clint formally joined the family farm operation and spent his share of hours in the rig, as well, until 1997 when its duty for the family was complete, and they traded it in at Heath’s, Inc. in Monticello. From there the Goodmanns’ two Steigers were sold to C.J. Morris & Sons Farm Equipment in Bement.

“Then we always understood they went west,” Clint said.

That was seemingly the end of the story; however, over the last five years, Clint’s boys’ interests in their family’s farming heritage had kindled. Now, Hans, a sophomore at TCHS, and Waylen, a sixth grader at East Prairie, say they plan to be the fifth generation of Goodmann farmers.

“I’ve never tried to force it on them; they have found their own paths and seem to be interested,” Clint said. “Hans has become a lot more involved over the last few years. I don’t have to make as many decisions as I used to. As his interest grew, they started talking about old stuff from the farm. I was always talking about this tractor, because I always rode in it throughout my childhood and started farming in it. I always said that as many hours as I slept as a kid bouncing my head off the windows in that thing I should have dents in my head.”

Clint’s earliest memories with the tractor were around 1979-1980 at the age of 3 years old.

“This was special to me, because I spent so many hours in it,” Clint said. “It’s just a big hunk of iron, but it has a lot of memories with it.”

The full story can be found in the Wednesday, May 22 edition of The Tuscola Journal.

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