Palm Trees, Parrots and 'Old' Iron

Content Tools

From Rust Bucket Ramblings Newsletter of Rio Grande Valley Old Farm Equipment Club, 712 La Vista, McAllen, Texas 78501

December 11, 1993 at McAllen, Texas, dawned with slight overcast, and a temperate 70 degrees F temperature. By 8:30 most exhibitors were within their cordoned areas. A few visitors were straggling about. Cars were beginning to form a line along both sides of North Taylor Road. In any direction lofty palm trees were plainly visible. Nearby the sounds of a noisy flock of yellow headed Amazon parrots could be heard. They were busy jabbering and feasting on this year's crop of acorns. This was the day for 'Fred's Down on the Farm' antique farm equipment show, a delightful day in contrast to 1992's cold, wet experience.

Old Glory waved proudly over the immaculate show grounds, as the official 10 a.m. show time arrived. Wall to wall people surged about trying to be certain they'd miss nothing. The engines were located in an orange orchard, fronted by a display of Harley Davidson motorcycles and Cushman scooters. Star of the show, a 1911 371/2 HP Fairbanks Morse vertical, 1 cylinder engine, was prominently in operation near the center of the grounds. Antique trucks and cars were displayed south of the registration concession, and citrus processing building. The calliope, played by Elinor Davison (a retired circus calliopist), was located east of the concession building. On the north side, L. W. Schult supervised the swap meet (farm related items). The west and north perimeters of the show ground were lined with tractors and machinery. The 1886 wooden threshing machine (Albert Meier) pulled by the Case steam tractor (Lloyd Van Rees) threshed barley on the east perimeter immediately adjacent to a verdant citrus grove. The sugar cane press (Robert Atchison and Don Guttenfelder) operated in an area adjoining that of the steam tractor.

All engines were stifled at 12:15 to give the South Texas Cloggers a chance to present some solid entertainment. Noontime food (Ted Gerlach and crew) was delicious, especially the pinto beans (slightly flavored with cilantro) and corn bread.

Alfred and Georgia Townsend are to be commended for their selfless efforts and willingness to share with the public. It took lots of sweat and countless hours to put this superb show together. Coylie Koelle got lots of good publicity for the event. Pete Block, Don Guttenfelder, Joe Cook, Lloyd Dugan, August Krehmeyer, and Robert Atchinson contributed over and beyond the call of duty. Unanimously, Larry Townsend, who took time off from his thriving real estate business to spend days preparing the grounds, was elected 'The Spark -Plug.' He did a fantastic job.

About 2 p.m. Bill and Bob Gross (Bill's octogenarian father) entered the grounds, just to see what all the excitement could be. Bill was so caught up with everything that he sought and received membership in the club. About 3:30 they left with Bill's parting words, 'This is great! I'm going to get my plane to give you a closing fly-over.' Sharply, at 4, he flew his 1939 SRIO-C Gullwing Stinson (1993 National Grand Champion, Classic A.A.A.) over, dipping the wing to an excellent example of what and 'old' iron show can be.