By Ron VandenBoom
For 14 years Lucius Cofer has been collecting tractors and farm implements.
Not the full size working tractors and implements, but sixty-fourth scale models that represent more than 100 years of farming history.
Cofer, for the first time, has brought his collection into the open and placed it on display at the Heritage Center through the month of March.
Cofer, an 18-year-old agriculture operation technology student at Montana State University-Northern, has placed about a third of his collection on display in a lifelike rural setting that represents farms and farm implement dealers from the 1800s to the present.
It is Cofer's way of helping enlighten the community to the history and significant role agriculture has played in the economic development of the Hi-line, Cofer said.
The display is divided into sections that depict different eras in agriculture and the miniature implements and buildings are numbered and referenced so people viewing the display can tell what era is represented in what section.
Most of the pieces were purchased over-the-counter from local dealers as they became available, this includes the buildings as well as the implements, but a few have been made from scratch by Cofer after acquiring the dimensions of a full size unit and scaling it down to get the correct proportions.
One example of a hand made project currently on exhibit is the 16B-747 Big Bud Tractor, the most powerful Big Bud ever manufactured.
Cofer obtained the tractor's dimensions when it was being refurbished at Big Equipment Company west of Havre several years ago. It took two months for Cofer to complete the model.
Cofer started his collection when he was about 6, but didn't hit his stride until 8 or 9.
It was the start of a collection that seemed never to end.
At 14, Cofer found another surge of enthusiasm and again greatly expanded his collection.
"Today I'm more selective," he said. "I don't buy in bulk any more."
Cofer said he has had the display set up in his home before and if he were ever to display the entire collection he could easily fill a 20 by 50 foot room. But mostly the models stay housed in closets where they take up less room.
"I was just getting too much and don't have enough room," he said.
Cofer will host a lecture on Saturday, March 10, at 2 p.m. in the lobby of the Heritage Center, where he will discuss the display and farm and ranch history in Montana as it relates to the development of technology.
There is no charge for to attend the lecture and refreshments will be served.