HELLDORADO DAYS Engine and Tractor Show

By Staff
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Gerald Rasmussen, our club's first president, showing off our club's t-shirt. He is also the new owner of the engine shown on the shirt.
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Club banner at last of two rows; yours truly's display in foreground.
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Our show area, with the Tombstone Court House State Historical Park in the background

5801 East Fifth Street Tucson, Arizona 85711-2403

The newly formed club in southern Arizona, ‘Power From The
Past,’ had its first show of the season in conjunction with
Tombstone (the town too tough to die), Arizona’s
‘Helldorado Days’ the third weekend in October 1994. That
made it the fourth year of holding an engine show in conjunction
with the annual Tombstone event. There generally are exhibitors
from southern New Mexico, as well as those from the other three
clubs of Arizona Arizona Early Day Engine and Tractor Association,
Arizona Flywheelers, and Salt River Power Association. The event is
held Saturday and Sunday. Most of Sunday morning is taken up by the
parade down Allen Street (the main street). There are between
300-400 different floats and groups that participate, everything
from dance hall gals, gunslingers, to antique and classic cars,
motorcycle clubs, Shriners, bands, and our engines and tractors.
The engine show group usually enters a wagon with engines, washing
machines, and other ‘go-withs’ drawn by a tractor. If we
get enough wagons we will be able to have the whole engine group in
the parade. Every year our show is getting larger.

The old two story brick court house is located across the street
from the engine show area. At one time Tombstone was the county
seat, which was later moved to Bisbee, in 1929. It is now the
‘Tombstone Court House State Historical Park.’ Up until
about two years ago the state only owned the building, as someone
else owned the land, because of the mining claim underneath. Now
the state owns it lock, stock and barrel. The ‘head honcho’
Hollis Cook and his side-kick Art Rodriquez (both are park
rangers), and his better-half Jay are members of our club. The park
has an old engine on the lot that the rangers just got operational
about two years ago. It ran pretty good for awhile until, during
the 1994 show, a part of one of the valves fell off and it sucked
the valve. Luckily it didn’t damage anything in side except for
the sucked valve. They have since replaced the valve and it’s
back in working order. You should have seen Art’s face when it
happened! Only those who know Art could understand what he said!!!
When Hollis found out, he was cool as usual!

Saturday night the gang from the courthouse put on a big
hamburger-and-hot-dog-with-all-the-trimmings feed for the
exhibitors and families out at the airport, under the stars, where
a few spent the night dry-camping in their RVs. All in all, it was
a great little show and the weather cooperated.

Tombstone is a picturesque thriving little town with real people
living there. It is located on a low rolling hilltop in the
southeastern part of Arizona and was made famous long before
Phoenix was even known for its rich silver mines. It is not only
famous for the above mentioned silver but, also for the O. K.
Corral Gun Fight and its real Boot Hill Cemetery where you can see
the graves of the McLaurys and Clanton that were shot dead in the
fight, and other graves with white wooden markers with simple and
sometimes comical inscriptions, like the one: ‘Here lies Lester
Moore: four slugs from a 44no less, no more.’ A road heading
west out of town will take you past a little frontier cemetery, on
the north side of the road. Continuing along the road a short
piece, you will come upon the Ed Schieffelin monument with an
inscription mounted in the stone monument telling of him and his
burial beneath it.

The Helldorado Days event, during which the townspeople dress in
authentic looking dress, is comprised of mock gun fights, quick
draw contests, mock hangings, hard rock hand drilling, a fashion
show of the period 1880s and after, street vendors, and a melodrama
at Schieffelin Hall. The hall is named after Ed Schieffelin, U.S.
Army Cavalry Scout turned miner who had the first mining claim. He
was told by some of his acquaintances when he said what he planned
to do in the now Tombstone area, that all he would find was his
tombstone because of the marauding Apaches. That is how Tombstone
got its name.

There is a motorcycle club that arranges a big get-together on
one whole street, a block long. There are all kinds of stock,
modified, and custom bikes and they compete in various contests for
the public. All of the stores, bars, restaurants, museums, motels,
and R.V. parks are open then.

If you plan on staying in one of the motels, you’d best
reserve in advance because they are full by Friday the day before
the event. The old bars are as they were during the turn of the
century, as are most of the restaurants very quaint and famous.

The town boasts of having the largest rose bush in the country,
and perhaps the world. One sure thing, it sure is pretty when it is
in bloom covered with clusters of little white rose blossoms.
It’s actually a rose tree that spreads out from the trunk in
all directions. The limbs are supported with uprights as the plant
covers the whole enclosed backyard of the business up front. I
believe the plant is about 100 years old now.

Also the reenactment of the famous O. K. Corral Gun Fight
between the Earps, Doc Holliday and Tom and Frank McLaury and Billy
Clanton takes place then. October 26, 1881 was the date of the
famous fight, and so ‘Helldorado Days’ is held on the
weekend closest to that date. This year it will be October 21 and
22, 1995.

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