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South Dakota saw a record-breaking 100 inches of snow during the winter of 1968-69. Despite the heavy snowfall, Wayne Hansen’s Gravely two-wheeled tractor powered through the white powder with ease.
Even when he had to remove four feet of snow, Wayne said he could blow the snow over the top of his dealership, onto an empty lot on the other side.
That dealership is Ideal Yardware, a third-generation dealership, which is now owned by Wayne’s son Cory Hansen. Wayne’s father, Adolph Hansen, opened Ideal Yardware in 1944. At that time, the dealership was called Hansen Lawn Mower Company, and one of the first products they carried was the Gravely two-wheeled tractor.
“It was the best piece of equipment we’d ever seen,” Wayne said. “It was unique, heavy duty, and the best option for lawn and yard care.”
Wayne said that his father liked the Gravely so much that he would use the tractor to plow gardens after the dealership closed. In addition to making him extra money, doing this was a way for Adolph to show others how the Gravely two-wheeled tractor worked, thus generating even more sales.
As another way to generate sales, Wayne and his father brought the Gravely to fairs, introducing the brand to attendees. Wayne said they did this for 25 years, selling countless tractors along the way.
Adolph Hansen at his Gravely fair booth
Today, Gravely commercial zero-turn mowers have taken the place of the two-wheeled tractor in terms of sales. Wayne said the commercial zero-turns account for nearly 90 percent of Ideal Yardware’s sales. Although zero-turn mowers are popular now, Wayne hopes that, with the introduction of the new Gravely Pro-QXT™ Tractor, the two-wheeled tractor will grow in popularity again.