CARRIER, OKLAHOMA — Tall and straight, turned gold by the sun. Delbert Joyner likes what he sees in the wheat field beside his house.
“It’s not going to be long,” he says of the coming harvest.
There’s been a Joyner on the farm here since 1894.
But it’s only been six years since a chance meeting changed harvest time for good, thanks to brothers Steven and Kevin Clarke.
“He was running the same equipment that we had,” explains Steven on what got them together with the Joyners.
The Clarkes are farmers themselves near Norfolk, England.
But they take a couple of months off every year to tour America’s breadbasket.
“That’s the area we love,” says Kevin. “We don’t want to go to New York. Give me the Midwest every day.”
They liked Delbert’s old Massey -Ferguson combine because they had one.
The Clarkes bought their own combine in the states and started coming back every year to help out.
Delbert says, “Course when they offered to buy a machine and come to America and help me, in my mind I thought that will never happen. But it did.”
lift the hood on 2013.
The Clarke brothers, mainly Kevin, went partners with a custom cutter in North Dakota named Marvin Helland to buy another old combine.
This one is a 1971 Model 760 that sat for 25 years in a Kansas field.
“There was an awful lot to do,” says Kevin.
No one would have bothered much if it weren’t a piece of tractor history.
Of the 10 760 models built that year, this machine was number one.
“When she was launched this was the largest combine in the world,” says Steven.
It took more than two weeks. Kevin and Steven got everything working.
They hope to cut wheat with it in 2013, unless there’s something they missed in the restoration.
“One of Delbert’s friends is going to be on hand with a fire extinguisher,” jokes Steven. “He’s not quite so optimistic.”
Most farmers will tell you the last things they want around harvest time are extra work and extra visitors.
The Joyners, in this case, are happy for both.
“They’ve been a huge blessing,” says Delbert’s wife Becky.