In today’s day and age, adults find themselves in a world with an almost endless possibility of hobbies. Hobbies can range from taking part in the performing arts to hunting down the perfect item.
Even collections can be varied, ranging from items as small as stamps to items significantly larger.
For Rimbey-area resident Dennis Pregoda, his collection, which he is in the process of selling off, definitely leaned towards the larger end of the spectrum.
Until recently, he had around 25 International — a now defunct company — crawler dozers built in between the 1930s and the 1950s on his property outside of town.
Ranging in size from some of the smallest ones built by International, to the TD 24, one of the largest, over the last 25 years Pregoda hunted for the crawlers all over the United States and Canada.
“For the big one, the TD 24, I searched all over,” said Pregoda.
After searching for several years, he found one for sale in Kitimat, B.C.
“I drove up there and bought it,” he said. “I bought the other one 10 years ago.”
All of Pregoda’s machines were what he called “runners” — still in running order — and with fairly low hours on them.
“One of them had 1,200 hours on it, built in 1952.”
Pregoda, who spent 25 years in the construction business, began collecting the crawlers after he switched his business over to using International equipment.
As time went on, and his business would work on farm and oilfield sites, he would come across the old crawlers that were all but abandoned.
“Most of them I picked up from local farmers,” said Pregoda. “They were on their way to be cut up for scrap.”
According to him, a lot of companies quit using the machines and sold them off because the people running them were retiring, and the companies were unable to find anyone to run the older equipment.
“They had to get more modern equipment.”
He has sold his collection of crawlers to Albert Jensen, a grain farmer based south of Drumheller.
Jensen himself has around 100 pieces of International equipment, ranging from tractors to combines, and now the collection of crawlers purchased from Pregoda.
While the collection is not open to the public, Jensen says that people do stop occasionally to look at it.