Buckeye Bluegrass Revue and Gas Engines, Too!

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Gary Sandve from St. David, Ariz., brought his 1936 3 HP Economy hooked up to a five gallon country ice cream freezer.

Dale Parker likes old gas engines. He likes bluegrass music too, and that's why this past March he once again hosted the 7th Annual Buckeye Bluegrass Revue at his Eagle Mountain Ranch in Buckeye, Ariz. It doesn't take much to get engine collectors excited about displaying their favorite engines, and with the sounds of The Colorado River Boys, the Hat Band, and others, I swear those one-lungers kept perfect rhythm with the banjo, bass, mandolin, fiddle, and guitar music all weekend long.

Arizona's old engine collectors pretty much go wherever the opportunity arises in order to start up their prized engines, and the Bluegrass Revue was no exception. Fellow collectors from as far away as Washington, Oregon and Montana joined in for two days of fun. And do they make a festival out it. Barbecue beef, coleslaw and beans, Texas sheet cake, and more - they feed you as though you were family, and insist you stay for seconds.

Gary Sandve from St. David, Ariz., brought his 1936 3 HP Economy hooked up to a five gallon country ice cream freezer, as well as his 1928 Maytag washing machine and engine combined.

And George O'Day wouldn't think of going to a show without taking his little Sampson rock crusher, circa 1900. His canine companion, Mitzie, long used to the sounds of the rock being ground and spewed out, sat patiently nearby. George always shows off two or three unfamiliar farm implements with a sign nearby that says, 'Know what these are?'

Buster Brown from Yuma, a hot air motor enthusiast, brought along his Ericsson, originally a wood burner, manufactured by the Rider Engine Company in 1907. The old motor was used on the Wrigley Ranch near Phoenix to pump water. It can pump 500 gallons of water per hour on just four pounds of coal (Buster uses propane) at 85 RPM - very efficient.

Dea Gruel's braiding/string machine, circa 1894-98, originally made military braid for uniforms at a factory in Massachusetts.

Dean Axtell from southern Oregon showed up with his Bessemer 2 HP, 2-cycle, manufactured in Detroit, Mich., around 1907. He floats water-filled plastic jugs in the tank so he has hot water for his trailer!

Sam Curry from Sedona showed off his Stover CT-2, 1- 2 HP, manufactured by Armstrong, Blum Company, Chicago, while Walt Miller from Apache Junction brought along his Taylor vacuum engine with an attached cream separator. This little 1- HP engine was manufactured in Elgin, Ill., in the late 1920s and early 1930s. The Stanberry Brothers from Buckeye had a dandy Foos Type J that ran like a song, and Gene DeCamp from Cottonwood brought along a 3- HP National hot-tube or igniter ignition, made in England. The copper tank was polished to a T!

The granddaddy of them all was a 40 HP Class AJ, made by Bovaird & Seyfang Manufacturing Company, Bradford, Pa., and used in the oil fields of New York. It chunked and swayed, keeping time to the bluegrass music in the distance, often spewing circular puffs of steam like a smoker with a fine cigar. Nick Poncelet and Steve Skyberg from Montana brought this behemoth to the show and planned to circulate it at other events in Arizona during the winter of 2001. The April 2001 GEM featured this engine in an article by Russell L. Farmer.

This 40 HP Class AJ, made by Bovaird & Seyfang Manufacturing Company, Bradford, Pa., and originally used in the oil fields of New York, was brought from Montana by Nick Poncelet and Steve Skyberg. They plan to circulate it at other events in Arizona during the winter of 2001. The April 2001 GEM featured this engine in an article by Russell L. Farmer.

My favorite was Dea Gruel's braiding/string machine, circa 1894-1898, manufactured by the New England Butt Company in Providence, R.I. Used in a Massachusetts factory years ago, it made military braid for uniforms. Water was originally used to provide power. Setup with 16 spools, eight of which turn clockwise and eight counterclockwise, it was fascinating to watch the threads wind their pattern around a cord of cotton, fed off a spool at the bottom of the machine. Was it ever popular! There was always a group of folks around the display, eager to learn more about it. And if you asked, Dea would cut off a sample of braid for you to keep. She and husband Gary are long-time Buckeye residents, and plan to show this off at many shows down the road. They'll hook up a throttle-governed engine to the machine - a good thing. I watched as Dea turned the handle over and over again, and it's a blister maker.

To the tune of 'Get in Line, Brother' and 'Mother's Grave,' the engines made themselves known, attracting lots of attention as they 'popped' to the music. And with the pie-by-the-slice booth, Arizona Jack's beef jerky, kettle corn, and 'Turquoise by the Ton,' the Buckeye Bluegrass Revue once again provided locals and visitors the treasured opportunity to listen to 'power from the past,' visit about days gone by, and make plans for next year's show.

It's uncertain where the show will be in 2002 - Dale has turned the Revue over to the Buckeye Chamber of Commerce and Buckeye Main Street Coalition, hoping they'll allow the festival to grow and improve at a faster rate. One thing's for certain, the old engines need to be part of this exciting weekend. After all, what's bluegrass without the Johnny-Popper's background beat?

Contact Carolyn Giger at 9712 NW 31st Avenue, Vancouver WA 98665