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A fleet of antique tractors is headed to Boise

photo of antique tractor

The rest of the more than 100 pieces of antique farm equipment from a Montana collector are on their way to JUMP, following this piece that arrived about six months ago. Photo by Sharon Fisher.

If you thought the only problem with Jack’s Urban Meeting Place (JUMP) in downtown Boise is that it didn’t have enough antique tractors, you’re in luck. The remaining half of more than a hundred pieces of farm equipment that Jack “J.R.” Simplot bought 20 years ago at an auction in Montana is headed to Idaho.

When JUMP was built in 2015, about 50 tractors were installed, while the rest of them ended up staying in Montana, said Rob Bearden, whose title is “tractor doctor” at JUMP. “It finally got to the point where  ‘We have to do something with these tractors,’” he said.

About 70 pieces of farm equipment, in 50 loads, are slowly making their way to Boise, via Pocatello and then heading down Curtis Road, Bearden said. “It’s quite the spectacle to see,” he said.

Exactly what’s going to happen to the tractors once they get to Idaho isn’t clear. Bearden said he couldn’t say, and Kathy O’Neil, JUMP’s community engagement director, didn’t respond to inquiries.

Billed as the largest privately owned collection of the world, the farm equipment had been collected and restored by Oscar Cooke, the namesake of the “Oscar’s Dreamland,” an agricultural park in Billings, Montana. Some of the machines date to the late 1800s. After Cooke’s death, Simplot purchased about 150 pieces of equipment, representing about half the available items that sold for $4 million, according to the Billings Gazette.

About Sharon Fisher

Sharon Fisher is an Idaho Business Review staff writer, covering financial institutions, technology, and business development. She holds a bachelor of science in computer science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a masters in public administration and graduate certificates in geographic informational analysis and in community and regional planning from Boise State University. She likes explaining things and going to meetings. Join me on Twitter at @IBR_SLFisher.