He said the club boasts more than 600 members from all over northern Illinois and states including Wisconsin, Ohio, Arizona and Florida, and that the event attracts a broad spectrum of people: young and old, families, farmers, engineers and school teachers.
Kocher attended his first show in 1967. In 2000, when taking his grandchildren, who were 5 and 6 years old, out for the day, he decided to stop by the show.
“My daughter had never heard of it, and she thought I’d bring them back by noon,” he said. “We stayed there all day, until close. In March, they asked me about coming again. That second year, my grandson saw a sign about becoming a member. He became a member at 7 years old. At 8 years old, he had his own tractor and refurbished it. Now he’s working on diesel engines in the Gulf of Arabia” as a merchant mariner.