By Michelle Brooks
RUSSELLVILLE - Rocking his newborn daughter on the front porch of his Rock House Road home, Greg Holtgrewe watched his boys riding bikes and pedal tractors.
Although three-week-old Adrian hasn't had her first ride on a tractor - yet - her brothers Garret, 6, and Grant, 3, not only ride the tractors with their dad, they are eager to talk about it.
Just as Holtgrewe, who grew up on a farm near Rosebud, has many fond memories of being on the farm with his father, he is passing on that tradition to his sons.
"I always take at least one of them with me," Holtgrewe said.
For the last year, the boys have helped Holtgrewe rebuild a 1960s Allis-Chalmers D-21, which they rode in the Russellville Frog Leg Festival and Engine Show parade earlier this month.
"We're not mechanics, but we try to be," Holtgrewe said.
Brand loyal, Holtgrewe has a collection of Allis-Chalmers model toys and he acquired an orange, replica wooden flower planter from the Cole County R-I High School FFA Chapter - for which he is on the advisory board.
Although Holtgrewe has hauled one of his tractors to Rosebud annually for the three-day Thresher Show in July, the recent festival was the first time he entered a Russellville parade, he said.
In addition to playing with Dad's Allis-Chalmers tractor toys, Garret and Grant share their father's favorite television series - The Dukes of Hazard. Each weekend, they watch several episodes together in the play room, Holtgrewe recently built.
As the manager of Lohman Producer's Exchange and a Russellville City Councilman, Holtgrewe is grateful how the community has treated him like one of their own.
"That's one of the things I like about living around here, everybody gets along," he said.
In addition to sharing the Allis-Chalmers heritage and growing up on farms, Holtgrewe and his wife, the former Amanda LePage, also share a strong work ethic.
"You have to work to get what you want; you can't have things handed to you," he summed up. "And you may not always get what you wanted."
Eventually the young family hopes to move to a large farm. For now, their 10-acres in town is only a mile from their farm. The boys will ride the four-wheeler with Dad to check the cows or the tractor to feed hay.
"We're trying to pass that idea on to our kids; it's a whole different world," he said.
Garret started with a bottle calf two years ago and shows at the fair.
Holtgrewe was raised "to not go to town unless you really needed something," so he didn't participate in such shows, as Amanda did.
Now, he likes helping on the 4-H fair board.
"I'm learning as much as he is," he said.
Whether it's growing into adulthood or rearing children, Holtgrewe, 33, said his short temper has softened to a more laid back disposition.
"Now I have the attitude, "everything happens for a reason,'" he said. "You take what happens and you go on."
For example, when the Memorial Day rains put his bean crop under water, it was upsetting "but, what are you going to do about it?"
Holtgrewe met Amanda through mutual friends at a birthday party. The couple have been married nearly eight years.
He was "pretty excited" the first time he heard he would be a father.
"I was used to playing with kids ... and then handing them back," Holtgrewe said. "I couldn't wait to tell people."
Being a parent has its frustrations and challenges, but "at the end of the day, you watch them playing and see the pictures of them growing up - it makes it all worth it."