The late Leonard Brautigam honored at Franklin County Fair

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Union, Mo. – Friday evening, prior to the start of the Truck and Tractor Pull at the Franklin County Fair, farm tractors began parading onto the track, lining up side-by-side, while fair board members gathered together at the center of the track.

Tractor pull announcer, fair board member, and friend of the late Leonard Brautigam, Wayne Sahm began speaking, “We would like to have a moment of silence for one of our past fair board members who we all dearly love and dearly miss.”  This was all done to honor one man who devoted over 55 years to the fair, especially the tractor pull.

“Anyone who knew Leonard knew a great man.  If not for all his years of service and dedication we would not all be here today watching this tractor pull.  He was one of those guys you just couldn’t dislike.”

Pictured: Wayne Sham.

In October of 2011, Leonard passed after being diagnosed with cancer in 2010.

Sahm stated, “Eight years ago when I joined the fair board, anytime I had a question Leonard was always more than willing to answer it.”

He continued, “When I first started, I was green.  I knew nothing about tractor pulling other than they went down the track at a high rate of speed. It was almost as though Leonard took me under his wing during the past five years teaching me everything about tractor pulling that I know today.”

Leonard’s wife of 53 years, Shirley Brautigam said, “For the fair board to even think of doing something like this really meant a lot, I don’t really know how to put it into words.”

Leonard’s son, Kenny Brautigam said, “It was really cool to have a tribute to my dad and see all the tractors out there.  He did a lot of work and most of it was behind the scenes that no one saw, arranging everything, getting everything together, it was a real nice feeling to have a dedication to him.”

Sahm continued, “Last year’s tractor pull is one I will never forget.  We all knew that last year would most likely be Leonard’s last and it was almost as if he knew that himself.  Right before the farm classes began pulling, he handed me the mic and said, ‘You’re announcing the pull’.  I had never announced anything in my life.  Leonard said ‘don’t worry I’ll be sitting right by you’.  I’ll never forget that.”

Leonard’s daughter, Kelly (Brautigam) Schwoeppe described her father best, “What my did liked to do the most was help other people.”

Sahm finished by saying, “Leonard is an inspiration.  If he could do this for 55 plus years, there’s no reason why I can’t go as long as I can.  I just love this fair!  Leonard gave so much to so many people, including myself.  It is only right that I do the best I can to keep Leonard’s love for tractor pulling alive.”

Leonard was married to Shirley for 53 years and together they had four children.  Leonard owned the Brautigam Implement Company in Union.

The success and longevity of Friday evening’s tractor pull at the Franklin County Fair can be traced back to one man who devoted over 55 years of his life to making each pull better than the last, Leonard Brautigam.

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