2003 Historical Construction Equipment National Convention and Old Equipment Exposition

Big boys with big toys

1955 Letourneau-Westinghouse D Tournapull

George Goldsberry and his 1955 Letourneau-Westinghouse D Tournapull.

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The 18th Annual Historical Construction Equipment National Convention and Old Equipment Exposition was held the weekend of Sept. 5-7, 2003, in the back yard of the National Construction Equipment Museum in Bowling Green, Ohio. The Monday before the show, the museum received over 4 inches of rain and turned the show grounds into a virtual lake. But by Tuesday, the sun started to peek out and so did the volunteers by firing up the dozers to cut off several inches of mud, hauling in truck loads of gravel and running pumps to help dry things out.

By Thursday, the soupy conditions had been fixed, and equipment was rolling onto the show grounds. This year set a record for a Historical Construction Equipment Association convention with 220 machines and vehicles displayed. More than 4,000 people also came to watch the live demonstrations and look at the static displays.

The museum volunteers were busy demonstrating equipment, parking vehicles and taking care of anything that happened to pop up. Cinder the direction of show chairman Don Frantz, a parade was held, and equipment was rolled out in chronological order. The parade started with horse-pulled equipment from the early 1900s, then continued with machinery through the 1950s, 1960s and finally ended with the new Cat Challenger.

A large dirt pile was made for the shovels, backhoes and draglines to play in. Dump trucks, bottom-dump trucks and rock wagons were filled with dirt, then driven to the other side of the pile and dumped. The dozers pushed the dirt back into the pile, and the whole process was repeated. Away from the dirt piles, a large field was used to demonstrate the scrapers, graders, rollers and dozers.

The museum's equipment building was emptied and housed vendors who sold watch fobs, manuals, models and other items. In the restoration shop, the museum's 1926 Marion Model 21 electric shovel was displayed. Although not completely restored for the show, the electric shovel did do a good job showing the various components that make up the shovel. Restoration continues on the shovel with hopes it will make the trip to this year's HCEA convention.

The weather turned out perfect, and all the rain earlier in the week kept the dust down until late Sunday when the semis were loaded to make the journey home.

On behalf of all the HCEA volunteers, I would like to thank all of the spectators, vendors and all the exhibitors that hauled equipment from near and far - we all know the expense in trucking this big equipment, but we wouldn't have had such a successful convention without you. Thanks again.

For more information on HCEA, visit www.hcea.net.