Our people never cease to amaze us with their stories. Never. They’ve brought our machines along for the ride on each of their journeys. Shawn Stover and his wife, Fallon, were no different when they cruised down the aisle on a Best 60. Shawn thinks it might have been one of the Best wedding processions ever.
Shawn’s story begins with his grandpa, who owned “old tractors” his entire life. Shawn says he and his grandpa were “inseparable” from the day he was born. Shawn’s grandpa met a fellow antique machine collector at an auction, Doug Veerkamp.
“I told Doug I wanted to drive tractors when I grew up, and he said ‘Give me a call and we'll find a spot!’” says Shawn. “And that's exactly what I did at 19, and Doug was true to his word."
When Shawn started working with the Veerkamps, their passion for antique Cat® equipment rubbed off – how could it not. They have one of the most incredible collections around. Shawn began attending antique machine shows and helping with the restorations. “Boy was I hooked!”
The 2008 Antique Caterpillar Machinery Owners Club (ACMOC) National Show was held at the Best Ranch in Woodland, California. They coined it the “Best Show on Tracks.” Best is one of Caterpillar’s predecessor companies alongside Holt.
“It was the biggest show the west coast had ever seen, and there was a lot of prep to be done for it. Doug sent me and a small crew down to the ranch to help set up the show grounds.”
Shawn was pretty busy when the weekend of the show arrived, but not so busy that he missed locking eyes with his future wife. “Her name was Fallon, and I was entranced.” Fallon was at the show with her family. Turns out “yellow blood” runs in her family too – Fallon, her brother, father and grandfather are all collectors of Cat® equipment.
“When I approached her to spark a conversation, I was shut down in a hurry,” Shawn says candidly. “I really wanted to take her for a cruise on the Veerkamp's beautiful 1922 Best 60, but she was not interested…too busy…can't talk right now…thanks, but no thanks.”
“Then, the show was over and she was gone.” But, Shawn saw Fallon’s grandfather the next day, and he offered to give Shawn’s phone number to his granddaughter. Whatever grandpa said worked, because Fallon called Shawn to go out to dinner.
Two years later, they were engaged planning their wedding. “For the wedding, I asked a huge favor of Doug and his son, Matt. I really wanted to have that Best 60 at our wedding so I could finally take my beautiful lady for a ride on it. ”Unfortunately the Best 60 had an engine issue, and the time to repair the machine wasn’t looking good for Shawn and Fallon’s wedding."
“But in true Veerkamp fashion, they pulled out all the stops and made it happen.”
Shawn beams when he talks about their big day. “My soon-to-be bride rode her horse into the ceremony next to her dad, and she left as my wife sitting next to me on that big beautiful Best."
”Shawn finally got his wish to take Fallon on a ride in the Best 60, and they rode it into their wedding reception. “What an entrance that was – to this day we still get compliments on the best wedding entrance ever!”
“She loves the old Cats almost as much as I do, and has been right by my side at almost every machine show since we’ve been married.”
“Matt and Doug now call their Best 60 the "Wedding Special," and anytime we take her to a show, Fallon and I always have to take at least one cruise on her.”
Some of the Veerkamp’s world-renowned collection will be on display at the Caterpillar Visitors Center's inaugural Antique Equipment Expo starting June 13. Go to visitcaterpillar.com for more.