9458 Genesee Road, East Concord, New York 14055
The two remaining, active charter members of the East Concord
Volunteer Fire Dept., George Barthel and Clair C. Fisher, recall
that the Department was organized ‘Out of Need’ for this
farming community, located thirty miles south of Buffalo, New York.
Now, forty years later, the Department has organized an annual
‘Steam and Gas’ show, once again, ‘Out of Need.’
This time, the Department needed a new project to bolster their
fund raising activities while local tractor collectors and
enthusiasts needed and wanted a chance to display the objects of
their affection, locally. The nearest such organized event was
nearly fifty miles away.
In 1986, they undertook the project, using the adjoining sixteen
acres of land, purchased several years ago for future expansion,
which had been serving no particular purpose. And so, a new show
was born under the direction of Mark Ballachino, who, with his
father Vincent, and brother Greg, had restored the 1936 Massey
Harris 15-22-a four wheel drive tractor that was used as the logo
for the 1987 show.
The first show proved to be so successful that the second show
was held on August 29th and 30th of 1987. Inclement weather gave
way to sunshine within an hour before the activities got under way.
However, this may have dampened the spirit of some exhibitors.
Still, nearly 100 exhibitors showed 50 tractors, about 300 hit and
miss engines and other related items, as well as several antique
cars and trucks. The only notable absence was ‘Steam’!
While this was disappointing, it is hoped that the firemen will be
able to locate any steam units that may be in the area and promote
them in future shows.
Early in the year, a plot of corn and oats was planted ‘on
the back forty’ by the Department President, Gary Miller, a
local dairy farmer. These were harvested, chopped and threshed as
live demonstrations for the public, using antique tractors and
Another demonstration of wood cutting proved to be very
dramatic. A drag saw, belt driven by a stationary engine, was in
continuous operation by Clifford Rugg. While this showed the time
consuming operation of cutting a log into blocks, a new, portable
lumber mill which was completely self contained, owned and operated
by Robert Schelble, cut rough logs into sized lumber within
While it would be impossible to give credit to every exhibitor,
it was obvious that all were anxious to exhibit alongside the large
collectors. To name a few of the large exhibits, Edwin and Art
Winters of Langford brought in several Oil Pulls as well as a large
stationary engine that is mounted as a semi-trailer. Karl Wiley,
‘a veteran of the shows’ from Springville, showed a variety
of tractors including a 1924 Oil Pull, a 1918 Waterloo Boy and a
1924 International 8-16. A large display of fully restored Massey
Harris tractors was brought in by Martin Spengler of North Collins.
Charlie Summers showed two Oil Pulls, and, as always, was eager to
hook them to the thresher and ensilage cutter. The ensilage cutter
and corn binder were provided by Dave and Marty Wendel who worked
the live demonstrations both days. The threshing exhibit was put on
by Eugene Very and his son, Kevin, using their McCormick threshing
machine. A working Myric pump jack was displayed by Donald Fox of
Langford. It was common to see father and son or family exhibitors.
One of these was Dave Detrick who was showing tractors while his
son, Joe, was showing tractors and engines. Ray Enser and family,
including sons Jim and Charlie, were showing their Oil Pull as well
as several engines. A rare 8 HP McVicker gas engine was shown by
Dale Nickerson of Cassadaga. Don Benz of Springville showed his
tractors while Joseph Krezmien showed many gas engines, one of
which was belted to an antique washing machine being displayed by
A new picnic shelter, completed just before the show, provided
the perfect setting for Sahr’s Concessions who offered a
complete food menu ranging from hot dogs to barbecued-rib dinners.
They also donated the live music for the evening entertainment of
the firemen and exhibitors as well as the ‘On Location’
services of local radio station WSPQ.
To the delight of young and old alike, Don Zittle offered free
tours of the grounds in a restored wagon pulled by double-team
hitch. A parade of tractors circled the grounds before the end of
With admissions of nearly 1500, the firemen felt that the show
was a success and are convinced that this will be an annual event
for years to come which will add to the cultural wealth of the
community. They are thankful to all exhibitors, large and small,
and look forward to catering to the needs of the exhibitors as the
show is really theirs too! By using a portion of the show proceeds
to improve the grounds, the firemen look forward to a bigger and
better show in 1988, scheduled for August 27th and 28th.