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Tractors offer lifelong passion for 10-year-old

Staff writer

Tractors are an integral part of farm life, but 10-year-old Thurston Silhan has developed a passion for a 1943 Farmall H Model his family bought when he was 1.

“This is the first tractor I ever saw and worked on,” he said. “It’s the first vehicle I was around.”

His attachment to tractors even showed when saying grace before meals, mother Staci Silhan said.

“When he was a toddler he used to thank God for tractors and parades,” she said. “This is one he’s taken to a lot of parades.”

Thurston likes the look of the Model H, its versatility, and history as one of the most-manufactured tractors.

The tire design allows maneuvering between crop rows, and it has a quick attach feature for implements.

He has an affinity for more than just the Model H, though.

Thurston said he loves the powerful design of old vehicles like the family’s 1950 GMC 650 Deisel.

“It has big tires,” he said. “The thing about big tires is that it makes it more aggressive.”

“It looks really intimidating because it has this big bed on it, but when you open up the engine, it’s not even 100 horsepower.”

From the family’s farm near Lehigh to the workshop in Pilsen, Thurston’s father, Fred Silhan, said working on tractors runs in the family.

“I’m not sure why he got hooked on it,” he said. “I enjoyed them from his age, too. I think I enjoyed them because I grew up working in the shop in Pilsen.”

In addition to a father-son connection, working on trucks and tractors means there’s no worry over learning new technologies, Fred said.

“It’s a technology we can all relate to across the board because it’s a technology we can all understand,” he said. “He likes video games, but my dad is certainly not going to get into that.”

Last modified Dec. 5, 2019

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