88 Flintrock Trail Del Rio, Texas 78840
Boerne, Texasa little jewel of a town between the flatlands of
San Antonio and the rolling hillcountry of LBJ. The Boerne area is
lush and green, with the trademark state flower, the bluehonnet, at
its abundant peak on this windy, cloudy, cool weekend of April
The public-spirited people of Boerne support the small
town’s nostalgic projects that honor their heritage, not the
least of which is agriculture. Following Highway 46 east out of
Boerne along the beautifully wooded, historic Cibolo Creek, one
finds the Agricultural Heritage Center, home of the Antique Tractor
and Engine Show. This is the sixth annual gathering, and from the
highway passersby can view the Center’s own antique tractors
and assorted equipment against a background of new and restored
Once inside the Center’s gate, a number of attractions
present themselves both in and around the buildings: a shopful of
blacksmith equipment run by a steam engine-driven jack shatt, as
well as the traditional tools that make this a true blacksmith
shop; a new structure housing a woodworking shop; a
museum-in-the-making; and the new restroom facility. Convenient to
all these attractions is the food concession, run by the
directors’ wives, where some of the best homemade hamburgers,
cookies, and iced tea in the state can be found. And sloping away
from the back of this line of structures is a flower-filled field
leading to the creek perfect for a nature stroll or a picnic.
But on to what we really came for engines and tractors. This
year, the show had to fight for its share of exhibitors and
spectators due to a number of larger shows and events in the area,
but it nevertheless drew a nice variety of equipment. There were,
as usual, some very interesting engines, my favorite being an old
Waterloo. Alton Kallenberg, with his sons David and Rick, owned a
trailerload of excellent examples, and yet another exhibit featured
perhaps twenty or thirty tiny working model steam engines, each
with its own steam source. There was an exquisite V-twin
air-powered engine with virtually all its precision-crafted parts
visible. Rosalee and Richard Keppler had a seemingly endless
variety of weird and wonderful old machinery and equipment. Various
other models rounded out the engine display nicely.
The tractor exhibit featured some fascinating old examples, such
as Harry Seidensticker’s Case 12-20 Cross-mount; Hilmar
Bergmann’s Farmall Super A, with which we shared the highway
coming in; a John Deere D on rubber; and my dad’s B.F. Avery
Vone and all easy-starting and smooth running, if not yet
Joining these were four magnificent examples owned by Jerry
Brauchle and Dale YoungDale’s 1952 McCormick WR-9 Rice Field
Special and Jerry’s John Deere B on rubber along with his two
Farmall F-12s (one on rubber, one on steel), often driven by
Freddie Biesenbach. With these, several others, and the existing
display at the Center, no one seemed to notice that the show was
smaller than many of the others around the state.
The relaxed atmosphere of this small show, delightfully devoid
of the usual routine and scheduled events, afforded exhibitors as
well as officials some welcome time to simply sit back, shoot the
breeze, and otherwise enjoy the machinery and each other.
Camaraderie ran high on both days, and impromptu tractor parades
broke out from time to time, with virtually every running tractor
joining in, including the two Farmall Cubs owned by director Walter
Bergmann, with the Case VAC having been donated to the center by
director Louis Magers. And a heart-warming sight and sound it was,
all that historic machinery running like a fine-tuned top.
The sharing really came alive when owners and exhibitors swapped
tractors, offering the coveted driver’s seat to others. My
sister, Sam, and I drove the Rice Field Special, the John Deere B,
and the two F-12s, having already demonstrated our prowess with
Dad’s Avery. Aside from our own excitement, this was a personal
high for our father having his daughters actually drive tractors
that had been his favorites for years.
To be sure, we all very one there had an enormously good time.
With the natural beauty of the area, the variety of antique
agricultural equipment, and the camaraderie between the exhibitors,
officials, and spectators alike, there was something for everyone,
making this the best show ever.
Gratitude goes to the show officials, who really put on a good
one, to the friendly and generous tractor owners, and to Man-in
Nebgen, who provided a good deal of fill-in information. I really
appreciate the latter, as almost everyone had left by the time I
realized this show deserved to he written up. My apologies for not
getting more descriptions and names earlier.
At any rate, another year or two should, by all rights, bring
this quality young show to greatness; let us hope that greatness
does not destroy its relaxed, friendly feel. For even now, it’s
almost too good to be true and I ask myself, how much greater can
it get ?