HELLDORADO DAYS Engine and Tractor Show

Tombstone, Arizona

Gerald Rasmussen

Gerald Rasmussen, our club's first president, showing off our club's t-shirt. He is also the new owner of the engine shown on the shirt.

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5801 East Fifth Street Tucson, Arizona 85711-2403

The newly formed club in southern Arizona, 'Power From The Past,' had its first show of the season in conjunction with Tombstone (the town too tough to die), Arizona's 'Helldorado Days' the third weekend in October 1994. That made it the fourth year of holding an engine show in conjunction with the annual Tombstone event. There generally are exhibitors from southern New Mexico, as well as those from the other three clubs of Arizona Arizona Early Day Engine and Tractor Association, Arizona Flywheelers, and Salt River Power Association. The event is held Saturday and Sunday. Most of Sunday morning is taken up by the parade down Allen Street (the main street). There are between 300-400 different floats and groups that participate, everything from dance hall gals, gunslingers, to antique and classic cars, motorcycle clubs, Shriners, bands, and our engines and tractors. The engine show group usually enters a wagon with engines, washing machines, and other 'go-withs' drawn by a tractor. If we get enough wagons we will be able to have the whole engine group in the parade. Every year our show is getting larger.

The old two story brick court house is located across the street from the engine show area. At one time Tombstone was the county seat, which was later moved to Bisbee, in 1929. It is now the 'Tombstone Court House State Historical Park.' Up until about two years ago the state only owned the building, as someone else owned the land, because of the mining claim underneath. Now the state owns it lock, stock and barrel. The 'head honcho' Hollis Cook and his side-kick Art Rodriquez (both are park rangers), and his better-half Jay are members of our club. The park has an old engine on the lot that the rangers just got operational about two years ago. It ran pretty good for awhile until, during the 1994 show, a part of one of the valves fell off and it sucked the valve. Luckily it didn't damage anything in side except for the sucked valve. They have since replaced the valve and it's back in working order. You should have seen Art's face when it happened! Only those who know Art could understand what he said!!! When Hollis found out, he was cool as usual!

Saturday night the gang from the courthouse put on a big hamburger-and-hot-dog-with-all-the-trimmings feed for the exhibitors and families out at the airport, under the stars, where a few spent the night dry-camping in their RVs. All in all, it was a great little show and the weather cooperated.

Tombstone is a picturesque thriving little town with real people living there. It is located on a low rolling hilltop in the southeastern part of Arizona and was made famous long before Phoenix was even known for its rich silver mines. It is not only famous for the above mentioned silver but, also for the O. K. Corral Gun Fight and its real Boot Hill Cemetery where you can see the graves of the McLaurys and Clanton that were shot dead in the fight, and other graves with white wooden markers with simple and sometimes comical inscriptions, like the one: 'Here lies Lester Moore: four slugs from a 44no less, no more.' A road heading west out of town will take you past a little frontier cemetery, on the north side of the road. Continuing along the road a short piece, you will come upon the Ed Schieffelin monument with an inscription mounted in the stone monument telling of him and his burial beneath it.

The Helldorado Days event, during which the townspeople dress in authentic looking dress, is comprised of mock gun fights, quick draw contests, mock hangings, hard rock hand drilling, a fashion show of the period 1880s and after, street vendors, and a melodrama at Schieffelin Hall. The hall is named after Ed Schieffelin, U.S. Army Cavalry Scout turned miner who had the first mining claim. He was told by some of his acquaintances when he said what he planned to do in the now Tombstone area, that all he would find was his tombstone because of the marauding Apaches. That is how Tombstone got its name.

There is a motorcycle club that arranges a big get-together on one whole street, a block long. There are all kinds of stock, modified, and custom bikes and they compete in various contests for the public. All of the stores, bars, restaurants, museums, motels, and R.V. parks are open then.

If you plan on staying in one of the motels, you'd best reserve in advance because they are full by Friday the day before the event. The old bars are as they were during the turn of the century, as are most of the restaurants very quaint and famous.

The town boasts of having the largest rose bush in the country, and perhaps the world. One sure thing, it sure is pretty when it is in bloom covered with clusters of little white rose blossoms. It's actually a rose tree that spreads out from the trunk in all directions. The limbs are supported with uprights as the plant covers the whole enclosed backyard of the business up front. I believe the plant is about 100 years old now.

Also the reenactment of the famous O. K. Corral Gun Fight between the Earps, Doc Holliday and Tom and Frank McLaury and Billy Clanton takes place then. October 26, 1881 was the date of the famous fight, and so 'Helldorado Days' is held on the weekend closest to that date. This year it will be October 21 and 22, 1995.