'My pride and joy': Southeast Nebraska man shows collection of farming collectibles
PICKRELL, Neb - From garage decor to NASCAR memoribilia, Mark Kujath is a natural collector, but nothing means more to him than his collection of rare farm toys and his 75 pedal tractors.
The colorful display sits in his barn just off of Highway 77 in Pickrell.
The collection went to the next level about 12 years ago, after he married his wife Judy.
“We got married, I was tired of the kids playing with their games in the house, so I got one tractor,” Kujath said. “And then I had to play referee, so I went to an auction, bought about five more.. It just grew from there.”
Judy echoes that message.
“That’s exactly what happened” Judy Kujath said. “We had the one pedal tractor outside, the kids were constantly fighting about who would get to ride it first, so we got more so they could ride at the same time.”
Mark and Judy get most of their tractors from auctions in Iowa and South Dakota, but before they venture north or east, it takes preparation. To help grow his collection, Mark spends his days doing value research.
“The big thing is you have to know value of the toys,” Kujath said. “So you don’t get caught up during an auction. I buy most of this at 98% auction.”
It also takes being selective.
“I buy the stuff I like,” Kujath said. “It’s the stuff I like, so that’s what I buy.”
While you may not see Mark harvesting a corn field or driving a real tractor, he says one of the main reasons he collects the pedal tractors is to show the history of how farm equipment has developed over the years, by giving a glimpse into machinery of the past.
“I can show what the old tractors were back in the day,” Kujath said. “I graduated in ’77 and that’s what got me going… I liked the tractors my dad had. That got me started in buying the older tractors and most of them didn’t have cabs.”
Mark enjoys showing off his collections, even hosting local nursing homes for tours. With the entire collection insured and well maintained, he’s proud of what he has. Judy and Mark also like enjoying the collection with family.
“It’s my pride and joy,” Kujath said. “I get asked a lot of times by a lot of people what things are worth and I can guess pretty close without even looking up what it’s worth… It’s a past time and a hobby and it’s something I enjoy.”
“And the grand kids like coming out and enjoying it,” Judy Kujath said. “They come out saying ‘I want that one, I want that one’ so it’s fun for them as well.”