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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Cherokee Farm Toy Show Sunday March 9

Monday, March 10, 2008

Dressing the part Bob Mahler (left) and Al Henn (right) not only enjoy collecting and trading farm toys, they "dress the part" of collectors as well. Photo by Dan Whitney
Like many Northwest Iowa "farm boys," Cherokeans Al Henn and Bob Mahler had a passion for farm "toys," such as model tractors and other farm equipment. They often ran into each other when attending various farm toy shows in the area, and one year, they decided that maybe they should organize their own farm toy show in Cherokee and eliminate some of those travel miles.

With that in mind, they worked with fellow enthusiast Evan Knapp, and set up the first Cherokee Farm Toy Show 16 years ago. The show has been held every February or March since then.

One of the highlights of the Cherokee show from year one was the creation of a special commemorative semi-trailer, adorned with a decal that cited the Cherokee Show with the date of that year's show. At this point, the commemoratives have become so popular that several customers reserve the numbered limited edition commemoratives in advance.

A work of love - Al Henn enjoys the meticulous work of applying the decals to the commemorative trucks. Photo by Dan Whitney
On the night I visited the pair at Al's home, the duo were busily placing the decals on the trucks, marking them, boxing them up, and writing the customer's name on the box. The guys order the truck bodies from SpecCast, an off-shoot of the old Ertl Toy Company in Dyersville, Iowa - "The Farm Toy Capital of the World" - and when they receive them, painstakingly apply the Cherokee Farm Toy Show decal on the trailer body and the logo of the CFTS, designed by Al's son, on the end gate.

The CFTS usually donates a portion of the proceeds from the show to a worthy cause, and this year, they have chosen the "Beef 'n Up the Troops" project, run by Ted and Dee Ann Paulsrud of Danbury.

As director for District 7 of the Iowa Cattlemen's Association, Ted had been in charge of planning and implementing a district meeting a couple of years ago, and found he had a couple hundred dollars left over. He thought of a project, Beef 'n Up The Troops, that the Iowa Cattlemen's Association

had begun but had discontinued, and he decided the $200 would be a way

to start up this program up again. Since restarting the beef stick project approximately 14 months ago, the Paulsruds have received enough

donations, $22,304 to be exact, to purchase 32,800 beef sticks to

send to the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

They receive donations from generous individuals, organizations, and businesses nationwide who wish to support the beef stick project. She deposits the money, which is all used to pay for the sticks. None is used for shipping, administrative costs, or other costs which the Paulsruds incur.

When they have received enough to purchase a box of 3,000 sticks from Triple T Meats in Ackley, it is ordered, and the wheels continue turning. At no charge to the project, a Fareway Foods driver in Ackley puts the sticks on his truck and delivers them to the Fareway in Sioux City. From there, Sgt. Phil Oregon of the 185th Air Refueling Wing, a Mapleton native who currently lives in rural Oto, picks up the sticks at Fareway and takes them to the 185th, where Col. Brian Miller coordinates the overseas journey.

They are then delivered to combat forces on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq.

While the Paulsruds receive no monetary stipend for the work they do,

they do receive the greatest "pay" possible - the letters of encouragement and donations from people who want to show the troops that they care, and thank-you notes from soldiers who have received the precious cargo. Each note they receive is placed in a scrapbook which Dee Ann, who has come to be known as "The Beef Stick Lady," keeps.

Al Henn and Bob Mahler have written out a check for $200 to the Beef'n Up the Troops project and also plan to have donation jars at the Cherokee Farm Toy Show on March 9. Any money placed in those jars will be sent to the Project in addition to the $200 check they are sending.

Al also planned to invite the "Beef Stick Lady" to the Cherokee show. If you're not going to be able to attend the Cherokee Farm Show, and you would like to donate to this cause (68 is needed for each beef stick), please send your donation

A worthy cause- A portion of the proceeds from the March 9 Farm Toy Show at the Community Center have been designated to go to the "Beef Steak project" of Dee Ann and Ted Paulsrud (pictured). Photo submitted.
to the following address: Dee Ann Paulsrud,"The Beef Stick Lady;" 4980 320th Street; Danbury, IA 51019

The Cherokee Farm Toy Show, which Al Henn says also draws fans of NASCAR collectibles, will be held on the lower level of the Cherokee Community Center from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Sunday March 9, 2008, Admission is $1 for adults and those under 12 have free admission. For fendors, $12.50 is the cost to reserve a table for displaying your collectibles. While it is certainly permissible to just come and look at the collectibles - buying, selling, and trading will also a part of the fun for many of those in attendance.

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