Three young women find a joint hobby in old Valmet tractors

Anne Ronkainen, Inka-Milla Kekki and Jenna-Janika Kekki are three young Finnish women who have become a small social media phenomenon and stars at local tractor events owing to their interest in classic Valmet tractors. While some people might think it odd that young women would be interested in old tractors, Anne and the two sisters Inka-Milla and Jenna consider their hobby to be the most natural thing in the world having all been raised among them.

Anne Ronkainen, Inka-Milla Kekki and Jenna-Janika Kekki, how did your Valmet hobby get started?

“Our families have always been involved with old tractors, especially Valmets. We became friends a few years ago after running into each other in tractor and heritage events. In autumn 2016, we teamed up and began filming our first joint Christmas calendar for YouTube. For no particular reason, people began referring to us as Valmet Martat, after the Finnish women’s association, and the name just stuck.”

What kinds of activities are Valmet Martat involved in?

“We attend tractor and heritage events throughout Finland, but of course there were fewer of them in 2020 due to corona. Whereas in a typical year we would attend over 30 events, last summer we attended less than ten. In addition to presenting our historic Valmet tractors, we also demonstrate old working methods. We have also organised charity rides for the benefit of families of children with cancer and the bird sanctuary in Heinola, for example. Our next project is to take our Valmets to service homes and support caregivers. These events always involve other enthusiasts with their own machines and programmes. Typically, these events last the entire day and cover between 60 and 200 kilometres of driving.”

What Valmet models do you have?

“We each have our own Valmet 20. In addition, Inka-Milla has a Valmet 872 forest machine that is still used from time to time to pick up fallen trees and firewood. Anne still has a Valmet 20 that she used to ride on when she was a baby, as well as HubbaBubba, a pink Valmet 20 powered by a 1.9-litre diesel from a Volkswagen Polo. Anne’s father also has a Valmet 20 and a Valmet 361D that he inherited from his own father. Inka-Milla’s and Jenna-Janika’s mother in turn has a Valmet 502. Altogether, our families have a lot of tractors, machines and projects!

Anne Ronkainen, Jenna-Janika Kekki and Inka-Milla Kekki are known as Valmet Martat. Each of the young women has her own Valmet 20 tractor along with other historic machines.

What other hobbies do you have besides Valmets?

“Alongside our jobs and studies, we don’t really have time for much else. Anne is a Finnish sign language interpreter by profession, Inka-Milla is studying agriculture and Jenna-Janika is still in her last year of school. Inka-Milla’s and Jenna-Janika’s family has also organised many events at their Vanha Savotta heritage centre, where they also sell traditional clothing. Valmet Martat is just a group of friends and not an official association or business.”