By Diana West Note: This feature is in the April TT&C 2014 issue.
Two models Eric has replicated for Haynes Custom Harvesting in Vernon, Texas.
Parked for the night Rockin H Harvesting takes a break on their way to the next job.
A common sight in southwest Kansas–trucks follow a chopper to be filled with chopped corn to be fed to cattle.
A 3-D printed MA20 grain bed and Haynes Original Service round off this Pete and Transtar II.
Eric Haselhorst, 41, of Dodge City, Kan., recalls watching custom harvesting crews moving south through Kansas in May signaling that harvest was about a month away. “I’ve always had a fascination with custom harvesting crews,” he says. “These are guys and gals who travel from Texas to Canada harvesting wheat for farmers.” Every June, he spent time on his granddad’s farm helping with the harvest. “I rode for hours on the armrest of his M2 Gleaner, made many trips to the co-op with a load on the ’71 GMC, ate meals out of the trunk of Grandma’s car and at the end of the day, washed off the dirt and dust and started over the next day.” Making Models Seven years ago he changed jobs and moved from Great Bend, Kan., to Dodge City. His wife, Christina and three children, Allison, 11, Matthew, 15, and Kara, 8, often accompany him on summer weekends to find custom cutter crews in action to photograph and take video of them. At his new residence, he no longer had space to display a collection of four-wheel-drive vehicles. He traded some of them at a toy show for a couple of semis and combines, grain trailers and dollies. To complete the set, he wanted a double combine trailer but couldn’t find one. “I got some measurements from a custom cutter in Minnesota and made one out of brass. People said they’d love to have one so I started making them.” He enjoyed making them so much that he started making single combine trailers. That was followed by tandem-axle end dump trucks. At first, he never said no to anything anyone wanted him to build but he soon realized that took the fun out of it and he wasn’t doing his best work. He decided to focus on wheat harvest vehicles only. “What is nice about being specialized is all pressure is off to do work I don’t care about. Staying true to what I absolutely love doing is the best part,” he says. He readily refers customers to other builders who specialize in items that he doesn’t do. Organized as Rockin H Farm Toys in 2012, he not only assembles the model to the customer’s requirements, he also sells kits that the customer, if he likes, can put together himself. He includes step-by-step videos and photos on his web site, rockinhfarmtoys.com, which helps them assemble it.
Want to read the rest of the story? It's available in the April TT&C 2014 magazine! Download here: APRIL TT&C 2014