Career advisers are fond of saying that people should turn their passions into their businesses, and Sherry Schaefer, 53, of Greenville, has done just that.
The publisher of “Oliver Heritage” and “Iron Heritage” magazines has been around tractors all her life and is an acknowledged expert on Oliver tractors, so writing about them comes naturally.
She will be part of the National International Harvester Collectors Club-Southern Illinois Chapter 32 Winter Convention coming up Thursday through Saturday at the Regency Conference Center in O’Fallon. The convention will feature three days of IH-related activities, including seminars, arts and crafts, restoration how-tos and vendors.
“You’ll see true, die-hard collectors in O’Fallon and anything you might ever need to work on tractors,” she said.
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Schaefer will be speaking at a banquet which is already sold out but also will be holding a couple of seminars on collecting IH literature and preserving it and the Nebraska Tractor Test Lab, which sets horsepower ratings for tractors.
It’s not surprising she should be drawn to Oliver tractors considering her family history. Her grandfather, Ervin Schaefer, was an Oliver dealer in Granite City and Hamel from the 1930s to the 1960s.
Her father was named Oliver and he was a used Oliver and equipment dealer in Greenville.
“I grew up around tractors,” Sherry said. “When we ran tractor pull sleds I worked for the family and that sort of fueled the fire.”
After she wrote a story for an Oliver collectors magazine, she eventually became editor of the magazine for about 10 years. Then she decided to strike out on her own with what became 3-Point Ink, which publishes her two magazines, available at most farm stores. She also has written several books about Oliver tractors.
She traveled to Australia last year for a three-week tractor caravan around the country and spent time in Scotland with the relatives of James Oliver, founder of the Oliver Chilled Plow implement company after he had immigrated to America.
Oliver merged with Hart-Parr and became an important tractor manufacturer. Their green and white tractors were popular and sold well.
But they eventually were absorbed by the White Motor Corp., which in turn was taken in by the giant Agco-Allis.
The convention is open to the public and hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday and Friday and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday. Admission is $5 and is good for all three days.
The national club has been around for more than 20 years and boasts more than 7,000 members in 35 active chapters. The Southern Illinois Chapter 32 was founded in 2003 and has nearly 200 members. It generally includes the state south of Interstate 70.
For more information on the club or the convention, you can visit the club’s website at ihcc32.com.
Wally Spiers: firstname.lastname@example.org