Offbeat: Replica Tractors

March 13, 2005--Posted at 10:35 p.m. CST

JONESBORO-- 24 years ago Mark Bowers spotted two tractor replicas at a tractor supply store and bought them. Little did he know those two would multiply to more 1,000 tractors and implements by the year 2005.

"I just like tractors," said Bowers. "Some people like Nascar and other things, I just like tractors. Seems like a little silly, a grown man playing with toys."  But then Mark found out there were others, all over the country, with this same silliness. "Meeting the people is as much fun as collecting the toys and building them."

Mark collects and builds mainly 1/64th scale tractors and implements and what he can't find or afford, he just makes himself. "I've made several tractors just for myself," said Mark. "The toy companies didn't build some or some rare tractors there wasn't very many made, but mostly what I built myself was dirt moving equipment."  He also builds other implements used in rice farming. Mark grew up on a farm and still farms rice and soy beans.

"Most of the stuff I have built is the stuff that the major manufacturers wouldn't have built," said Mark. "The only things I don't build are the wheels and tires. I try to build everything else and try to put plenty of detail in them."

It's meticulous work that can take up to 10 hours, but Bowers would'nt have it any other way. "It can be frustrating. When you're trying to put something small together, it can be frustrating," said Bowers. "I guess I'll do it as long as I can. It may get to the point where I can't do it. As long as I can I'll probably do a little. I'd like to do more, but I'll do as much as I can as long as I can."