The Piney Chapel Volunteer Fire Department held their 9th Annual Antique Engine and Farm Machinery Show on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 10-11, 2001 on Elkton Rd., two miles north of Athens, Ala. Tropical storm Barry had made landfall earlier in the week, and as luck would have it heavy rains dampened the first day of the show. Things began to look better during the course of the day, and by late afternoon the rains ceased. Friday evening the gates were open and all in attendance were treated to some great entertainment provided by several local bands playing some good 'ole gospel and bluegrass music. Barbeque chicken and all the trimmings was served by the fire department staff with the help of some local volunteers. No one went home unsatisfied that night.
Clouds gave way to sunshine on Saturday morning, and soon the old iron began rolling through the front gate. Tractors, engines, flea market and parts vendors attended from six states for this year's show. John Deere, International, Allis-Chalmers, Massey-Harris and Oliver were just some of the names represented at the show. Billy Wayne Ferguson from Athens, Ala., had several beautifully restored International tractors, as well as a 1948 International ton and a half truck that he meticulously restored to better than new. Evan Gooch from Columbia, Tenn., displayed a 1926 Cletrac crawler. This little crawler was in very nice original condition and it ran equally well as he rode around the grounds. It is not very often that you see a crawler with a steering wheel. Beautifully restored tractors were paraded around several times for the enjoyment of the spectators. Altogether, 137 tractors were on hand for this year's show.
In the engine display area many restored one lungers were on hand to show how it was done in the old days. Engines such as Alamo, IHC, Witte, Hagan and Mogul, a wide variety of brands were displayed. James Caplinger of Hendersonville, Tenn., ran his Southern Engine and Boiler Works side shaft for the duration of the show. The Southern Engine and Boiler Works built these engines in Jackson, Tenn., and few examples of these engines are known to exist. John Powers of Carterville, Ga., was serving up some good homemade ice cream and lemonade. John has a very nice ice cream unit powered by a 2-1/2 HP Alamo. Altogether, 138 engines (both large and small) were displayed this year.
Other exhibits included a very nice trailer of small steam engines owned and operated by Burton Marsh from Mooresville, Ala. Several antique lawn and garden tractors, model engines, antique car replicas and scooters were also displayed. The flea market area was full of treasures both new and old.
Events held during the course of the show included a parade of power, slow races, fast crank competitions, and even a skillet throw for the ladies. The fire department staff and their families did a fantastic job serving good food all day. I am sure no one went home hungry. Saturday evening the fire department gave away numerous door prizes donated by many local businesses. As the show came to a close, everyone who attended was well satisfied.
The Piney Chapel Volunteer Fire Department would like to thank everyone who participated in this year's show. We hope you will join us next year and many more years to come. Thanks to all the sponsors and co-sponsors for their support and to all the spectators who continue to show great interest in our wonderful hobby. Without a common interest, a show like this would not be possible.
A nice, original 1926 Cletrac Crawler belonging to Evan Gooch, Columbia, Tenn. Featuring a steering wheel rather than the more common control levers, this crawler is a solid runner.
The Piney Chapel show is always the second weekend of August, so watch for ads and mark your calendars. We look forward to seeing you at the Biggest and Best Little Show in Alabama.
Contact engine enthusiast Mike Hodges at: 20396 Elkton Rd., Athens, AL 35614.