'Red Power' on Parade

Marion County Fairground

The infield on the Marion County fairground during 'Red Power Roundup' at the 1992 Marion County Steam & Gas Engine Show. 296 International Harvester and 150 or more other tractors were displayed.

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At the 1992 Marion County Steam and Gas Engine Society's Show, held June 18-21 on the Marion County Fairgrounds in Marion, Ohio, there was an air of anticipation during the first days. The morning hours were a rush with exhibitors registering, as the last of the concessions moved into place and the flea marketers laid out their wares. The sounds of a few sputtering gas engines and tractors grew into a crescendo of many and the scents of gas, oil and coal smoke mixed into a heady accent on the summer air. As displays grew and grew, there was the feeling that something special just might happen, and it did.

At the Thursday evening tractor pull, just after the first contestant completed his pull, Don Willson walked to the center of the pulling track and stopped the show. He called Troy Scott and Martha Deyo up before the crowd. Troy is the young man who organizes the Society's tractor pulls and Martha was Troy's fiance. Don announced to the surprised couple that they were to be united in mock marriage on the spot.

Doris Gregg, the mock minister, performed the ceremony, dressed in a flowing black robe and holding the book of 150 Years of International Harvester (the Bible of the IHC collector.) This turn of events was especially humiliating for Troy, who is a dyed-in-the-wool John Deere collector. It was a mirthful prelude to Troy and Martha's actual wedding, which was to take place a week later.

At the Saturday night tractor pull David Gregg, an avid IH collector and show organizer of the IHC displays, was cajoled into pulling a John Deere and won the class, much to his chagrin. David will need a little time to live that down. The Marion group enjoys good natured fun and a good laugh, but even more, they enjoy hosting special collector groups that bring in fine collections like the one the International Harvester Collectors brought to the Marion show.

The infield was a busy place as the Society's fifteenth annual show, held yearly over Father's Day weekend, got underway. The north end was completely filled with the International Harvester Collectors' displays. At least 296 IH or related tractors were on display. Add to this display 150 or more of the Society members' tractors, and to that, gas engines and various antique harvesting equipment; visitors had to get busy because they had a lot of looking to do.

J. R. Equipment, Inc., a Case IH dealer in Upper Sandusky, Ohio, brought in a 1660 combine and a mammoth four-wheel drive tractor. These monstrous machines provided a vivid contrast to the exhibits of antique tractors and harvesting machinery. It was easy to see how far equipment design has come over the years of farming history.

Fremont Hoover, president of the International Harvester Collectors, was on hand to share information and sign collectors into the organization. Mr. Hoover's interest in IH equipment is a natural outgrowth of using IH tractors on his father's farm. He would like to find a PD-40 power unit to complete a series with tractor and crawler. His collection includes fourteen or more tractors and some implements. Mr. Hoover believes that one way to encourage first time collectors is to include them in local shows and to help them to find affordable antique equipment as restoration projects.

More than the collecting, Mr. Hoover enjoys meeting people through promoting and heading up the IHC organization and attending the shows. Once through a casual comment at a chance meeting with an old army buddy he had not seen for a dozen years, Mr. Hoover acquired a TD-40 and a WD-40. All collectors enjoy such happy accidental leads.

Shirley and Fremont Hoover, when asked to share their hobby with their son's fifth grade class, took farm toys valued from $200 down to $2 and explained that this hobby was not only for adults, but could be of interest to young people as well.

One of the IHC group's members, Harry King, of Perrysburg, Ohio, displayed twenty six tractors from his collection of more than sixty. One of his special tractors is an Airport Mule manufactured by Hobart in Chicago. Few were made, and it was used to haul luggage and cargo at airports. Also among King's collection were the High Crop H, used in vegetable farming, and the T-340 crawler, used in farming.

Dewey Hetzel, of Sycamore, Ohio brought in seven pieces from his collection, one of which was a WK-40 on full steel, one of two at the show. The other WK-40 was on rubber.

Harry Lee, from Elnora, Indiana, brought six tractors. His Farmall IHC Twin got a lot of attention for its unusual look. The twin is a combination of two tractors in a Siamese configuration.

We were pleased to have Ed Brockman's Huber steam roller in action on the Pioneer Green this year. Ed hails from Detroit, Michigan, but, of course, his Huber originally came from the Huber Manufacturing Company based in Marion, Ohio. Huber equipment is always a part of the Society's show. Five steam engines were used to power up the saw mill, threshers and corn shredders for active demonstrations. These made a picturesque scene on the Pioneer Green.

Crafters were set up in the Coliseum along with John McNaull's wooden McCormick reaper, one of only three or four made, which doubtless was the oldest thing on the fairgrounds. Mr. McNaull is from Ashland, Ohio.

Nick Jonkman, of Ontario, Canada exhibited an IH cream separator, a display of IH literature and a special series of IH wrenches. An antique IH truck, a 1947 IN KB6, exhibited by the Schultz Motor Company of Tiffin, Ohio (an IH truck dealership), and another antique truck, a Ford, which was used in the filming of the movie 'Hoffa,' and owned by Steve Bower, of Caladonia, Ohio, were added attractions. Mr. Bower also displayed newspaper stories about the making of the movie.

In 1993 the Marion County Steam and Gas Engine Society will feature John Deere equipment and all forerunners. We welcome all John Deere collectors and Two-Cylinder Club members to attend the show and 'bring along a Deere.' Collectors of all kinds of antique farming equipment are always welcome and encouraged to display at our show.

One of the Marion Society's main goals is to share farming history in visual display models so the present generation can easily see how the vocation of farming was carried out in years past. As the pool of American farmers shrinks and the 'family' form of agriculture gives way to corporate farming it will be harder for people with a non-farming background to visualize 'how it was done back then.' Join us next year for this special experience.

The Show will be June 17-20, 1993. For information call president Earl Scott, (513) 642-0574 or vice president Don Willson (614) 482-2506.