At an early age, Randy Breternitz of Midland became interested in farm tractors and the engines that powered them.
“I grew up on a farm and I was around the stuff early on,” Breternitz said. “I was always working with my hands on stuff.”
Now, after spending 46 years as a truck driver, the now-retired Breternitz is getting all the mechanical challenge he can handle as the property manager at the 13 acres of the Midland Antique Engine Association at 3326 S. Meridian Road. The non-profit club has a mission to spread the history and mechanics of engines, tractors and other large equipment.
The group has about 90 families that are members. Breternitz noted that you don’t even have to own a tractor or engine to belong.
If you like antique engines, “this is the place for you,” he said. “All you have to do is have an interest.
Breternitz has a history of getting old things to work again. He has refurbished both a 1949 Allis-Chalmers Model C and a 1962 Oliver 550. He and his 17-year-old grandson are now tackling a 1953 Ford Jubilee.
He said there are two ways to tackle an old tractor. Some like to make it look almost as nice as it looked the day it was sold. Others like to make it operate, but keep the rust and age just the way they were before it was fixed.
And other club members are more into tractor pulls and competitions.
Breternitz said the club has a refurbished sawmill, a couple of old threshers, a 1913 engine from the Porter Oil Field, a blacksmith shop, a museum and a general store among the many things on its grounds.