Chautauqua County Antique Equipment Show

John Deere Tractor

1936 John Deere BO restored and owned by Larry Straight of Jamestown, NY.

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934 Shadyside Road, Jamestown, New York 14701-9451.

Tractors are the fastest growing feature of the Chautauqua County Antique Equipment Show in the southwest corner of New York State. The show had two themes in 1992 for its 18th annual show: Made in New York, and Silver King tractors. Fifteen Silver Kings and one Plymouth, illustrating most of the variety inherent in these plucky little tractors, lined up for the weekend last August. Two families, the Buskist brothers and the Adams brothers, all farmers from neighboring Cattaraugus County, brought most of these Silver Kings. Many of them were appearing for the first time at the show.

Tractors of other makes were as numerous as in any recent year. The tractor parades on the spacious, well drained grounds, part of a private airport, were the pride of the 1992 show.

Model tractors dominated the model section of the show with several large and small collections appearing for the first time.

Early in the century, Chautauqua County was filled with diversified farms: dairy, hay, potatoes, beef and veal, sheep and hogs, apples. Fruit and vegetable farms took advantage of the milder climate next to Lake Erie. Small foundries and machine shops in the county and others in nearby larger cities produced engines and farm equipment and the Pennsylvania oil fields next door all contributed to the diverse possibilities for collectors in this area. Nearly every year the club's relentless collectors and meticulous restorers come up with a new surprise, often an obscure local make of engine.

Of course, there are hundreds of examples of other more familiar makes of engines each year on the grounds, both original and restored.

One of the show's secrets of success is cooperation with other area organizations. These include the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Model Engine Club, the Chautauqua Lake Region Antique Automobile Club of America, which annually makes the show a stop for a tour, and the Busti Historical Society noted throughout the area for the good food which it provides at an on-the-grounds refreshment stand.

This year, in connection with the show theme, John Deere equipment, the Association hopes to pioneer cooperation with another group, the Brokenstraw Antique Tractor Club, formed in 1991 and now affiliated with Two-Cylinder Worldwide.

Larry Straight, a member of both the association and the tractor club, plans to exhibit his 1936 BO (pictured). 'It was built in 1936 and delivered to the dealership which is now known as Zahm and Matson in Falconer, New York,' says Larry. 'It was purchased in 1935 and then traded in 1937. A local farmer then purchased it and used it until about 1987. The farmer took very good care of the BO and kept it inside. This tractor has all original sheetmetal thanks to him. A neighbor of mine purchased the BO and used it for three years to haul firewood. I then purchased the tractor from him and restored it.

'The BO is a B standard which was built for use in orchards. Note that there are no mufflers or air intakes sticking up through the hood. Also, the gas caps are shielded from the branches. This way you can work under the trees without knocking the fruit off.'

The show dates this year are Saturday and Sunday August 21 and 22. The show is open to any sort of gas, steam, electrical, agricultural, automotive, wood working, and industrial antique equipment including hand tools and models. We also have an outstanding antique radio exhibit.

There is plenty of free parking. The Dart Airport, where the grounds are located, offers antique and other airplane rides. It houses a recently expanded aviation museum and a restaurant. A neighboring fire department brings in chicken barbeques. A large general flea market adjoins the show.

The grounds are only a mile from famed Chautauqua Lake in the heart of a rustic all-season resort area with many motels, bed and breakfast establishments, special events, and the world famous Chautauqua Institution.

Current officers of the Chautauqua County Antique Equipment Association are Barbara Wise, president (716) 988-3616, Norman Carlson, vice president and publicity (716) 483-0134, and Mary Crawford, secretary (716) 326-3211.