The fall farm show season is just weeks away with the kick-off of the 2011 Farm Progress Show slated for Aug. 30. As the event nears, news trickles out about special events and projects that will highlight the big event. Interestingly, one major project actually gets a quiet start today - July 11, but will get national attention.
Turns out that DEKALB is turning 100 in 2012 and the brand is planning a range of ways to celebrate, but one that will get some national attention kicks off at the big farm show. DEKALB plans to unveil a custom-built "chopper" at the Farm Progress Show then take it on the road for the next year.
Work begins July 11 on this specially commissioned custom-built machine in the well-known shop of Paul Jr. Designs and will be featured on the show "American Chopper" which appears on the Discovery Channel. And at the end of that tour, the custom chopper will be auctioned off for charity. That's right, you could own the commemorative chopper.
You can watch a promotional video on this page discussing the anniversary, and providing some insight from Paul Jr. himself about the chopper project.
Why a chopper to celebrate a seed company centennial? "When we looked at it, recognizing 100 years of a brand, and how something lasts that long the No. 1 thing is the people that made DEKALB successful - the customers and the dealers," says Jason Hoag, DEKALB marketing lead. He explains that to deliver profitability to customers the company has a legacy of innovation and performance. Those two words - innovation and performance - became hallmarks for the celebration.
The custom ride being built by Paul Jr. Designs will be unveiled at the 2011 Farm Progress Show - details of the unveiling event will be released closer to the show. But that's just the start of a year-long promotional effort for the chopper. "It's all going to kick off at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Ill.," Hoag says. "Then for the next year, leading up to the 2012 Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa we want to give dealers and customers the opportunity to see the bike."
The chopper will make a series of 14 to 20 appearances across the country, from Nebraska to Ohio and from Wisconsin to Florida. Stops include county fairs, conferences, machinery and crop shows and other ag-related events. And interested potential buyers (the bike will be auctioned off) can follow the tour and auction at www.dekalb.com after the machine is unveiled.
When the tour ends in 2012 at the Boone show, the winning bidder will be announced. The chopper will be auctioned over the Web - and those details will be announced soon. The charity will be announced during the unveiling at the 2011 Farm Progress Show. Hoag notes the bike will be a popular machine adding that in the farming community, a significantly higher percentage of farmers are motorcycle owners versus the general public. "There will be a lot of interest here," he notes.
Hoag is excited that DEKALB has been able to team with Paul Jr. Designs. "They asked us a lot of questions in our conversations," Hoag says. "They will start from scratch and they wanted to know about what the DEKALB brand is and not just the product, but about what it has meant, who are the customers, what does the brand stand for."
Hoag notes that the design studio works hard to fully understand the brand. And DEKALB provided them with memorabilia, logos and other information to be used as inspiration for this new chopper. The machines 30-day design-build schedule is pretty standard, but there's one aspect of this program that may be a surprise to many.
"We won't see the chopper until everyone else does," Hoag says. "I'm comfortable with that. We'll see it when our customer sees it." When the sheet comes off the custom built DEKALB chopper at the Decatur show, that'll be the first time anyone but Paul Jr. Designs has seen it. Make plans to come to the unveiling, and you might be a chance to meet Paul Jr. himself.
"Yes Paul Jr. is going to be at the show as part of the unveiling," Hoag adds. "We're very excited about this aspect of our celebration."
DEKALB is planning a wide range of programs, activities and promotions, but the chopper is the centerpiece of the birthday celebration. Check it out at the 2011 Farm Progress Show.
A quick note about the birthday itself. On Jan. 20, 1912, 11 northern Illinois farmers formed the DeKalb County Soil Improvement Association, linking the DEKALB name to "a legacy of performance and innovation," according to company information. The company will be taking part in special recognition events in the DeKalb, Ill., area during the next year as well.