Finding Minnesota: Son carries on late father's record-setting hat collection
FROST, Minn. -- Collections come in all shapes and sizes, but very few of them end up in the Guinness Book of World Records. One family has a hat collection that's been in that record book, twice.
In this week's Finding Minnesota, John Lauritsen traveled to the town of Frost to learn how it all got started and why it keeps going.
"I always say it was the best place to raise my children," said Julie Halverson of Julie's Bar and Grill.
Frigid Minnesota winters make Frost a fitting name. A small community that's just north of the Iowa border.
"Everyone knows everybody and it's just a fun-loving town," said Julie.
Fun-loving with one very unique distinction. Frost is home to about 200 people and about 100,000 hats.
"Right here behind me on the wall there are a thousand hats on display," said Scott Legried.
And it's just a fraction of what Scott has. His late father, Bucky, started this collection in 1967 and Scott took it over when he passed away. Bucky was a farmer who thought colorful caps of all kinds blended well together -- like a melting pot of headwear.
"He hardly wore a hat. That was the funny thing," said Scott.
But it didn't stop Bucky's obsession. He was part of a nationwide group of collectors, and when word got out, people sent him more hats than he could handle. So, some went on display while others ended up in boxes. Those boxes filled three semi-trailers to the brim.
"He has caps from implement dealers, seed dealers, feed dealers, oil companies, tool companies," said Scott.
In this collection, no two caps are the same.
But it's not all farm stuff -- there's A & W Root Beer, and Red Owl. You don't see Red Owl anymore.
"Nope, there is anything and everything for companies," Scott said.
It's a history told through hats. Scott estimates that 75% of the companies on his garage wall don't even exist anymore. A sense of pride for Bucky, but not his biggest accomplishment -- you'll find that in Scott's basement.
Bucky collected John Deere hats from every state.
It took Bucky years to amass his collection. John Deere caps from Hawaii and Alaska are included, plus all the Canadian provinces and a variety of other countries. The entire cap collection got Bucky in the Guinness Book of World Records two different times. He'd even haul them to senior living centers to entertain people.
"The easiest way to describe the relationship is that he was my best friend. We played together, worked together, farmed together," said Scott.
And when Bucky passed away in 2013, Scott just couldn't let the hats go.
"Sometimes I go looking for them and sometimes they find me," said Scott.
People keep sending them to Scott, and he happily accepts because he knows that's what Bucky would do. Every hat makes Scott feel like a part of his dad is still here. It's a tip of the cap to a great father, a great farmer, and a great hat collector.
"Just proud of my father and what he did," said Scott. "It's kind of an honor and tribute to him for what he's done."
Scott said before his dad died in 2013, he had dreamed of getting his hat collection in a museum, like in Branson, Missouri or the Wisconsin Dells. He hopes to make that a reality in the future.
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