Sec. Ashland County Yesteryear Machinery Club, 1557 County Road 995 Ashland, Ohio 44805.
The very nature of the antique tractor and engine hobby attracts many of our senior citizens, enabling them to relive their earlier years. As the years go by, many of these people find that Father Time has taken his toll, and walking around a show becomes difficult or impossible. There are also younger visitors who, through accident or illness, find themselves in the same situation, and the shows no longer have the enjoyment of the past. We realized this situation several years ago at our annual show, when several people were observed being pushed in wheel chairs and others with walking aids such as a cane or crutches.
The decision was made to develop a method of transporting these people which would enable them to enjoy the show in a similar manner to others who do not have these physical limitations.
Although a wagon or trailer would enable groups to view the show, it would not allow for the individualized tour allowing personal contact with exhibitors, other visitors, and vendors.
To give the spectators the desired tour, the decision was made to construct trailers designed to handle two people which could be pulled in tandem if desired, and pulled with a garden tractor. This enables the passengers to stop and look at the exhibits of their individual choosing, talk to vendors having items of interest to the individual, and visit with anyone with whom they wish as they tour the grounds. The time spent can also be determined by the individual guests, unlike the time taken when a group tour is given.
For several years our club, the Ashland County Yesteryear Machinery Club, has taken a trip by motor coach to the Tri-State Engine and Tractor Show held at Portland, Indiana. We learned that several members would like to attend this show, but their physical limitations prohibited them from attending due to the size of the show and the walking required. Because of the small size of the trailers, we found that they could have the seats removed and both the seats and trailers could be loaded under the coach in the cargo bays. We also purchased an older Wheel Horse lawn tractor, and with some alteration, the steering column could be easily removed, and the tractor could also be loaded in the coach.
We are now able to take those with limitations to this and other events, where they can enjoy the show which would be impossible without such a device.
This project has enabled several members to participate in activities which they would otherwise find impossible, and in some cases it has enabled the club to repay members who have given much to the club and its activities in the past. The method used may not be the only way to accomplish our goal to enable as many to enjoy these activities as possible. However, it certainly has provided a fuller, more accessible experience for those who may not have otherwise enjoyed the activities. We recommend all clubs further evaluate methods that may similarly promote attendance among a wider audience.