Events & Information


May 26th was the reveal of the new exhibit Leo: The Life and Legacy of C.L. Best at the Caterpillar Visitors Center. Ed, Sue &
Dan Best were honored to attend this event. Caterpillar Chairman & CEO Doug Oberhelman, as well as other executives, also atttended. Chairman Oberhelman credited "Making Tracks" as the catalyst that led the company to rediscover the importance C.L. Best had to the beginnings of the Caterpillar Tractor Co. and how his legacy affects the company today. Take a tour of the Caterpillar Visitors Center and see a mix of the old and the new. You won't regret it.

It is soon time to make the trek to the Caterpillar Visitors Center (CVC) in Peoria, IL. The new exhibit, Leo: The Life and Legacy of C.L. Best, will open to the public on May 27th, 2016 at 10 AM. This exhibit will offer a remarkable look at the man behind the tractors. "Making Tracks", our book, is available for purchase at the Cat Merchandise Center next to the Visitors Center.

While you're in Peoria, check out the Peoria Riverfront Museum. They are displaying a wonderful Cat artifact: Old Betsy, the proto-type diesel engine built by Caterpillar in San Leandro CA in 1930. This engine is on loan from the Smithsonian.

The Life & Legacy of C.L. Best

The Caterpillar Visitors Center in Peoria, IL, will open a new exhibit honoring Caterpillar's first CEO, C.L. Best, in late May 2016. The CVC has amazing permanent displays, ever-changing new equipment displays and temporary displays like the one honoring C.L.Best. Be sure to experience the video in the bed of the massive 797F mining truck!

ACMOC Chapter 7 Winter Meeting

Ed & Sue are honored to be at the 2016 Winter meeting for ACMOC Chapter 7 to be held at the Heartland Museum in Clarion, IA. They will present a program entitled: The Early History of the Caterpillar Tractor Co. The Heartland Museum is located at 119- 9th St SW in Clarion.


National Park Service book Published

"Gold, Steel & Ice: A History of  Mining machine in Yukon-Charley Rivers national Preserv" by National Park Service historian Chris Allen has been published. Ed consulted on this project. Congratualtions, Chris!


Caterpillar Inc. Interviews Authors

In early October 2014 Ed and Sue were in California to meet with three representatives from Caterpillar Inc. The group from Peoria had read "Making Tracks" and wanted to learn more about C.L. Best, the first CEO of the Caterpillar Tractor Co. The authors were pleased to oblige. With many hours of video and interviews, it is hoped that company employees and the public will soon receive a much broader sense of just how important Best was to the company during its first three decades.

Authors Consult on Book Projects

Ziegler, Inc.

Ed and Sue had the privilege to work as consultants for a book commemorating the centennial anniversary of Minnesota/Iowa Caterpillar dealer, Ziegler Inc. The Claessens's worked with photos and captions as well as little known stories from the early years of the company. Congratulations, Ziegler Inc. Wishing you many more years of growth and prosperity.

National Park Service

A request for information about Daniel Best's 110 HP traction engine came all the way from Fairbanks, Alaska. Ed has been working with the National Park Service historian who is writing a book about mining machines in the Yukon-Charley Rivers national Preserve. The Best engine was brought to the territory in 1905 to haul coal cars.

2014 Events

History of Tractors

On Tuesday, March 18, the Wright County Historical Society will host its 2014 edition of the popular "History of Tractors Series".  The tractors highlighted will be Caterpillar and the presenters will be authors Ed & Sue Claessen.  This event will have two presentations at 1:30 PM and again at 6:30 PM. Both presentations are identical. Seating is limited to the first 120 attendees each session. The Heritage Center is located at 2001 Hwy 25 N, Buffalo MN 55313. For more information call 763.682.7323.

Ed Featured on KRWC Radio

March 14th 2014, saw Ed interviewed on KRWC Radio Wright county. The 30 minute interview allowed Ed to tell a short history of the Caterpillar Tractor Co. and how he & Sue became involved with the quest to credit C.L. Best for his contributions to that worldwide company. Sally Stevens from the WRight County History Center also provided information on the March 18th History of Tractors event featuring Ed, Sue and Caterpillar. See you at the Wright County History Center on the 18th!


2013 EVENTS 

Authors Make the Book Signing Circuit

Ed & Sue were pleased to have the oppotunity to share their passion for Caterpillar history and also answer questions from the crowd about "Making Tracks" this fall. Our thanks to the Barnes & Noble stores at Har Mar Mall and in Apple Valley for hosting us. The BookCase in Wayzata a also provided a wonderful setting for an author event.

39th Annual Albany Pioneer Days

Mark Sept. 13, 14 & 15 on your calendar. Ed & Sue will be at the  Albany Pioneer Days, this year featuring the Year of the Tracks. Meet the authors, ask questions and buy a book to have it personnally autographed by the authors. If you have previously purchased "Making Tracks", be sure to bring it along. Ed & Sue will gladly sign it for you.  For more information about the show please go to

Live Televison Interview on Fox 40 Sacramento

Ed & Sue were interviewed about Making Tracks: C.L. Best & the Caterpillar Tractor Co. on the FOX 40 morning show in Sacramento, Calif., on April 17th. Click here to view their interview. 


Local Authors Featured in Howard Lake

Ed & Sue will be doing a short presentation and signing copies of "Making Tracks" at the historic Howard Lake Drug Store at 11:00 AM on Saturday December 15th. Located at 732 6th St in downtown Howard Lake MN, this business traces its beginning to 1917. In California in 1917, C.L. Best lost control of his company to C.A. Hawkins. Read "Making Tracks" to find out more about Best's trials and triumphs.

"Making Tracks" at  Fine Arts Expo

On Saturday November 17th the authors will be at the 34th Annual Fine Arts Expo held at the HL-W-W Middle School. This event runs from 9 AM to 2 PM and is located at 801 8th Avenue in Howard Lake MN. This is a good opportunity to visit with the authors and purchase a signed copy of "Making Tracks."

Authors to be in Yuba City CA

The Community Memorial Museum of Sutter County will host "Making Tracks" on Friday, June 8, 2012. The presentation begins at 2:30 PM with Ed & Sue speaking about their book and how the history of Daniel and C.L. Best has roots the Sutter County area. The address for the museum is 1333 Butte House Road, Yuba City CA. For additional information, you may contact the museuem at (530) 822-7141.

Making Tracks at The Cokato Museum April 24, 2012

Join Ed & Sue on April 24, 2012 at 7 PM for a discussion of Making Tracks. This event will be held at the Cokato Museum located in Cokato MN at 175 W 4th St. The contact information for the Museum  320.286.2427 and 

Hennepin County Library to host Making Tracks Authors

Join Ed & Sue at the Maple Plain, MN  branch of the Hennepin County Library on Saturday, March 31st at 11:00 AM. They will be discussing the book and sharing how Making Tracks came to be.  There will be time for a Q & A session after the presentation.

"Cool Cat" Luncheon

Making Tracks was the special featured presentation at the February meeting of the West Central (Minnesota) Christian Seniors. Two hundred seniors (50+) enjoyed the luncheon and music provided. Ed & Sue closed the event with their story of C.L. Best and how his innovations changed the world. They also shared the creative process that resulted with the publication of Making Tracks".


Making Tracks comes to San Leandro, CA.

On September 21, 2011, Ed & Sue Claessen will be at the main public library in San Leandro for a book signing. Hosted by the library, the event will be held in the library's California Room from 1 to 3 PM. San Leandro was the home to the  Best Manufacturing Co., the C.L. Best Tractor Co. and the Caterpillar Tractor Co. Join us in the city that started it all.

San Leandro A Success.  A sincere thank you to Mary Lee Barr and all of the employees and volunteers of the San Leandro Public Library that made this day a success. The audience was attentive and asked excellent questions. It was good to see old friends and make new aquaintences. Thank you, San Leandro.


Heidrick Ag History Center to Host Making Tracks

Join Ed & Sue Claessen on September 23 at the Heidrick Ag History Center in Woodland, CA. The Claessens along with Dan Best II, will be available to sign your copy of Making Tracks. This event starts at 5 :30. Contact the Heidrick Ag History Center for more information. 

Woodland Supports Making Tracks

The Heidrick Ag History Center hosted a very successful book signing by authors Ed & Sue Claessen. After an introduction by Dan Best II, C.L. Best's grandson, the authors spoke about the why and the how of bringing Making Tracks to life. Ed, Sue & Dan then signed books for all who requested.  A sincere thank you to Lorili, Jennifer and all the staff and volunteers who made this event such a success.


Friends of the Howard Lake Library Host November 6 Event

Ed & Sue Claessen will discuss their book, Making Tracks, on Sunday, November 6, starting at 2 PM. This meet and greet will held at the St. Mary's Parish Center located at 607 Maple Street in Waverly MN. The Claessens will addresss why and how their book came to be and then answer questions.   Books will be available for purchase or you may bring your book in to be signed.

Refreshments will be provided by the Friends of the Howard Lake Library.

Another Making Tracks Success

 The first book signing held in the authors' home state was well attended. The crowd listened while Ed and Sue spoke of the process of getting Making Tracks into print. A question and answer session followed. While the Claessens were signing copies, the crowd enjoyed refreshments and browsed the memoribilia on display. Many thanks to the Friends of the Howard Lake Library for hosting this event.


Making Tracks at Toy Tractor Show November 19

Ed & Sue will be signing & selling Making Tracks at the 5th Annual Wright County Historical Society Toy Tractor & Sports Car show on November 19th from 9 AM until 4 PM. This event will be held at the Buffalo Middle School gym in Buffalo Minnesota,  located at 1300 Hwy 25 N. Bring your questions or just stop in and say hello.

Toy Tractor & Car Show Event a Success

  Even though "the weather outside was frightful..." many people went home with a copy of Making Tracks. The 2.5" of snow held off during most of the morning  and attendance was high. People stopped by to visit with Ed, have their questions answered and their books signed.  Thanks to all who braved the weather.




Ed, Sue, Chairman Doug Oberhelman & Dan Best II pose in front of a 1921 Best Sixty tractor on a beautiful evening in Peoria Illinois.

Doug Oberhelman & Ed discussing the finer points of a Best Sixty after Ed started the 1921 tractor for the Chairman and the crowd assembled for the exhibit reveal.

Logo for the new exhibit at the Caterpillar Visitors Center.

Making Tracks was awarded first place in both the biography and history categories at the 22nd Annual

Midwest Book Awards.

The happy authors after accepting the two Midwest Book Awards received by Making Tracks.

Ed & Sue at the  November 9 event at         The BookCase in Wayzata MN

This is tractor is mentioned in Ed’s bio. Ed’s Sixty as it looked in 1973.

Ed's Caterpillar Sixty as it looked at the
time of purchase in 1973.


Booth at the Harvest Spectacular, Woodland CA

Dan Best II presenting Carol Davis, reference librarian at the Woodland CA Public Library, a copy of Making Tracks for the library's collection.

Dan Best II (left) Ed Claessen(standing) Sue Claessen (right) at the Heidrick Museum signing.

Two views of the November 6th event in Minnesota.



November 19, 2011 Buffalo MN