9458 Genesee Road, East Concord, New York 14055
The two remaining, active charter members of the East Concord Volunteer Fire Dept., George Barthel and Clair C. Fisher, recall that the Department was organized 'Out of Need' for this farming community, located thirty miles south of Buffalo, New York. Now, forty years later, the Department has organized an annual 'Steam and Gas' show, once again, 'Out of Need.' This time, the Department needed a new project to bolster their fund raising activities while local tractor collectors and enthusiasts needed and wanted a chance to display the objects of their affection, locally. The nearest such organized event was nearly fifty miles away.
In 1986, they undertook the project, using the adjoining sixteen acres of land, purchased several years ago for future expansion, which had been serving no particular purpose. And so, a new show was born under the direction of Mark Ballachino, who, with his father Vincent, and brother Greg, had restored the 1936 Massey Harris 15-22-a four wheel drive tractor that was used as the logo for the 1987 show.
The first show proved to be so successful that the second show was held on August 29th and 30th of 1987. Inclement weather gave way to sunshine within an hour before the activities got under way. However, this may have dampened the spirit of some exhibitors. Still, nearly 100 exhibitors showed 50 tractors, about 300 hit and miss engines and other related items, as well as several antique cars and trucks. The only notable absence was 'Steam'! While this was disappointing, it is hoped that the firemen will be able to locate any steam units that may be in the area and promote them in future shows.
Early in the year, a plot of corn and oats was planted 'on the back forty' by the Department President, Gary Miller, a local dairy farmer. These were harvested, chopped and threshed as live demonstrations for the public, using antique tractors and equipment.
Another demonstration of wood cutting proved to be very dramatic. A drag saw, belt driven by a stationary engine, was in continuous operation by Clifford Rugg. While this showed the time consuming operation of cutting a log into blocks, a new, portable lumber mill which was completely self contained, owned and operated by Robert Schelble, cut rough logs into sized lumber within minutes.
While it would be impossible to give credit to every exhibitor, it was obvious that all were anxious to exhibit alongside the large collectors. To name a few of the large exhibits, Edwin and Art Winters of Langford brought in several Oil Pulls as well as a large stationary engine that is mounted as a semi-trailer. Karl Wiley, 'a veteran of the shows' from Springville, showed a variety of tractors including a 1924 Oil Pull, a 1918 Waterloo Boy and a 1924 International 8-16. A large display of fully restored Massey Harris tractors was brought in by Martin Spengler of North Collins. Charlie Summers showed two Oil Pulls, and, as always, was eager to hook them to the thresher and ensilage cutter. The ensilage cutter and corn binder were provided by Dave and Marty Wendel who worked the live demonstrations both days. The threshing exhibit was put on by Eugene Very and his son, Kevin, using their McCormick threshing machine. A working Myric pump jack was displayed by Donald Fox of Langford. It was common to see father and son or family exhibitors. One of these was Dave Detrick who was showing tractors while his son, Joe, was showing tractors and engines. Ray Enser and family, including sons Jim and Charlie, were showing their Oil Pull as well as several engines. A rare 8 HP McVicker gas engine was shown by Dale Nickerson of Cassadaga. Don Benz of Springville showed his tractors while Joseph Krezmien showed many gas engines, one of which was belted to an antique washing machine being displayed by Judy Wright.
A new picnic shelter, completed just before the show, provided the perfect setting for Sahr's Concessions who offered a complete food menu ranging from hot dogs to barbecued-rib dinners. They also donated the live music for the evening entertainment of the firemen and exhibitors as well as the 'On Location' services of local radio station WSPQ.
To the delight of young and old alike, Don Zittle offered free tours of the grounds in a restored wagon pulled by double-team hitch. A parade of tractors circled the grounds before the end of the festivities.
With admissions of nearly 1500, the firemen felt that the show was a success and are convinced that this will be an annual event for years to come which will add to the cultural wealth of the community. They are thankful to all exhibitors, large and small, and look forward to catering to the needs of the exhibitors as the show is really theirs too! By using a portion of the show proceeds to improve the grounds, the firemen look forward to a bigger and better show in 1988, scheduled for August 27th and 28th.