Life In The Fast Lane


1948 IH truck

A scene from 'The Mud Hole Pull of '88', last October. 1948 IH truck (with 1935 J.D. 'D' on it) towing trailer loaded with 25 HP 'Marion' engine.

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P.O. Box 333 Holland, Texas 76534

The antiques that haul antique tractors and engines to shows deserve recognition, too. This story begins two weeks prior to our annual Texas Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association Show, which was held October 1 and 2, 1988.

I had my 1935 John Deere D loaded on my 1948 International flatbed truck and I had my one cylinder 25 HP Marion engine on its trailer which was hooked up to the truck. I decided to take these to the show grounds two weeks early to allow more time for other things.

My fellow collector, Richard A. 'Smitty' Smith (who was going to follow me), asked me just prior to embarking upon this journey, 'Are you going to travel on the frontage road when we get to IH35?' I replied, 'Naw, not me, I'm gonna run with the big boys-those Peterbilts and Freightliners in the fast lane!' And I did-to within 1.8 miles of the show grounds! That's when the old flatbed started smoking and slinging oil! I'm talking slinging (actually blowing) oil! I also had it boiling water real good! Most steam engineers would have given $20 for the start I had on that water! It took about two and a half hours to get towed near the show area and to get everything tied down or covered up. By this time, the truck had cooled down a few degrees so I thought I'd see if the engine would turn over. It would, though slowly, but after a few revolutions it blew the oil filler cap about halfway to the moon, so I got to figuring there was a hole somewhere that wasn't cast in the factory!

I returned the following weekend (one week prior to the show) and tore down the engine to look for the suspected hole. I found the hole as soon as I lifted off the head. There was the neatest hole burned in the approximate middle of piston #1.

Now, to tell the exact ordeal of what it took to get a piston for a 1948 IH truck would take another 18 pages so let me just say I did get a piston and gaskets before the show. I had intended to take off work Thursday and put the truck back together and on Friday do some fixing-up on our old pull sled. Well, it had been pretty dry in Texas-up until this show weekend. On Thursday, while I was trying to put the truck together (outside), it stormed and rained FIVE INCHES! Between thunderstorms, I managed to build a tarp cover over the truck and get it about halfway back together. On Friday, I began to complete the truck. Because our showground was soaking wet, I couldn't get to the old pull sled and we weren't going to be able to have a tractor pull in this mud anyway. So, I would work on the truck awhile, discuss the show (rain, mud, etc.) awhile, work on the truck awhile, and at twenty minutes 'till 5 p.m., I got it cranked up.

Now, it really wasn't totally necessary to have the truck running for the show, but something real interesting (in my opinion) happened during this muddy show. Since our showground was too muddy, Mr. Calvin Buice opened up his large steel building (Thanks, Calvin!) for demonstrations, etc. and we strung out tractors and engines along the sides of the state highway and county road near the building.

I wasn't able to unload the '35 D because of the mud, but I did get to 'mud-around' with my '29 D on steel. The tractor parade was held on Saturday in front of the large building and this had made a pretty fair size mud hole! At about the midway point of the Sunday parade, I had this interesting thought that I mentioned earlier. Why not get my '48 International flatbed truck with the '35 D on it pulling the long trailer with the big one cylinder Marion 25 engine and pull off into this nice BIG mud hole that these other fellows had worked so hard to make?! So, I got my two sons, Nathan 7 and Nicholas 4, and we crawled in the '48 and did just that-we pulled off into that mud hole! And we got real good and stuck-just like we wanted to!

Now, I've seen quite a few things pulled out of mud holes, but I 'ain't ever seen' this many tractors wanting to pull something out of a mud hole without even being asked! As they hooked up more and more tractors, my wife Nancy was watching me and the boys having fun as she helped other ladies dip up that homemade ice cream made by antique engine powered freezers. You see, since I was chairman of the Pull Committee, I felt as though I had to give these ol' boys something to pull to get rid of that urge to pull, since our tractor pull had been rained out.

I thought we had a very good show, with a large number of various demonstrations, displays and exhibitors. It didn't rain on Saturday or Sunday. The mud was from the two days prior to the show. It seemed as though everyone enjoyed the show. Some especially got a kick out of what I call 'the mud hole pull of '88'. One member summed it up this way, by saying to me, 'the crowd enjoyed the tractors trying to pull you out of the mud hole so much, even if it is dry next year, we're going to have to wet down a mud hole and let you drive off into it!'