Mini Trucks Are Making A Comeback To Parades In Eastern Iowa
How does one even think to start a project like this? Some people are too creative for their own good. This whole story begins in the 1970s when Jim Cowell wanted to one-up his boss and build his own version of a shrunken down truck, according to KWWL.
Using spare parts, Jim built a 1971 Ford cab that was half size. This eventually led him into building a 1/4 size version. After that came the 1/8 version, and then finally a miniature jeep. According to KWWL, this ended up being a 10-year process.
After reading about Jim and his story I asked myself "how does someone have enough time for all of that? He must've really loved it." It turns out Jim did have a LOT of side projects but he also had a huge heart and loved to be able to help other people.
Amy Dearborn is Jim's granddaughter and she told KWWL
He was very much into helping people; anybody that needed any kind of help. There are spiral staircases and banisters around McGregor that you can still see today.
Unfortunately, Jim's health started to decline in the mid-2000s and the miniature trucks were shut down from being used. KWWL reports, that according to the McGregor Public Library, the last time the miniature trucks were seen in a parade was in 2006.
The trucks ended up sitting for many years in the city of Froelich, unused. Danny Torkleson used to see these trucks growing up and always wanted to drive them. He told KWWL
I always saw those trucks as a kid and I never got to drive them. That made me want to repair them.
The trucks ended up being pretty easy to repair according to Torkelson. The toughest part ended up being the tires. Driving these mini trucks has turned into a Torkelson family project. The trucks will make their return to live action at the Monona Hay Days parade on June 11th. In that parade, you can plan on seeing Danny in the 1/2 truck, his daughter Veda in the 1/4 size truck, and his son Wyatt in the Jeep, which will tow the 1/8 size truck.
The Torkelson family also plans to be pretty busy with parades around July 4th as well.