Oologah Man Takes Pride In Preserving 'American Made'
OOLOGAH, Oklahoma - An Oologah man has a fine collection of vintage riding mowers and garden tractors. But it's more than just a hobby, it's a commitment to saving American Made.
Mike Pepin has a yard full of 40-year-old Garden Tractors and riding mowers.
"These were built by American men and women, they were the finest products in the world," Pepin said.
He said after 1970, they were lighter weight, not as versatile and built overseas. He once had about 50, but realized he couldn't personally save them all, so he's traded with other collectors and whittled his collection to about 15, including his first.
"Yes, I told the lady I'd never sell it. Her dad bought this new in 1974. It's a Massey-Ferguson on the end here," Pepin said.
All the tractors still run. He plows with them and pushes snow when we have it. It's not a parking lot for old tractors, and most of them have a story, just like Pepin.
He's a 56-year-old full time college student at Rogers State. He's a psychology major and carries a 3.75 grade point average. He's also a veteran and wants to someday counsel others.
"In life you have one chance to do something, get off your rear and do it," Pepin said.
He's on his way. In the meantime he'll continue to rehab and restore these old garden tractors
"These aren't mine," Pepin said. "I'm taking care of them until they can go on."
With his help, the American made machines will last longer than we do.