Photos by Bradley B. Ware. Submitted by Bradley B. Ware,
President, Texas Early Day Tractor and Engine Association, Rt. 3,
Box 211, Killeen, Texas 76542.
Even the best made plans sometimes have to be changed at the
last minute. The Texas Early Day Tractor and Gas Engine Association
found that out on October 1 and 2 when they met in Speegleville,
Texas, to hold their 17th Annual State Show.
The gathering was to be held on leased acreage, just as in past
years. The larger pieces of equipment had been moved in earlier in
the week, along with tents, display booths and all the
paraphernalia that go along with accommodating over 6,000 guests
for the weekend. What was not planned was the almost five inches of
rain that fell the night before the festivities were to begin. The
field became a quagmire. Add to this the presence of several
tornadoes in the area and the organizers’ visions of the
perfect show were quickly going down the drain.
Thanks to Calvin Buice, a club member who lives in Speegleville,
the show was saved. He graciously offered his large building and
land, and the show was held as planned, with continuous adjustments
to accommodate changing conditions. Demonstrations and concessions
were erected inside the metal building and the antique pieces were
displayed along each side of the road. About 2,000 visitors came
out to visit the ‘show by the side of the road’.
One of the happy results of the miserable conditions was the hay
rides pulled by antique tractors which carried the folks back and
forth the half mile from the temporary show site to the place where
the larger pieces of equipment were bogged down. Even though
threshing was not possible, the visitors were able to view the
large threshers, along with the larger tractors, engines, and
syrup press. Many of the spectators enjoyed the hay ride as much as
looking at the equipment, so next year’s show will include hay
rides just for the fun of it.
Members Doug Landry and Bill Schramm received numerous
compliments on the fine restorations of their tractors while
pulling the trailers for the hay rides.
Even with all the sticky mud and less than ideal conditions,
spirits remained high and an overwhelming amount of beans and
cornbread were sold by the ladies operating the concession stand.
This year another antique five gallon ice cream freezer (run by an
antique engine, of course) was added and still could not keep up
with the demand. One of the new money makers this year was the
popcorn machine run by Sammy and Peggy Thomas.
The ladies of the concession area were responsible for the
financial success of this year’s show because it was impossible
to have any gate or admission since the show was spread up and down
the road. Another asset was the flea market which made its debut at
this year’s show.
Because of the conditions, most of the tractors were left on the
trailers to keep them from getting muddy, while about 20 tractors
participated in the parade, compared to over 80 entries in 1987.
Visitors were treated to some unplanned ‘tractor pulling’
as several of the old lug wheel tractors buried down to the
One of the members, Monk Ivicic, spent two days prior to the
weekend working on his truck, which had broken down on the trip to
the show site. After rigging up a temporary tent to protect him
from the rain, Monk proceeded to tear down the engine and replace
one of the pistons which had developed a rather large hole. He had
the truck fired up and ready to go by show time.
Several new exhibits were enjoyed by this year’s visitors. A
V-mesh wire weaver demonstrated by Rody Whitehead won the award for
‘Most Outstanding Demonstration’ and was really an
attention getter. Rope making by the Ferguson brothers also drew
large crowds. One of the more unusual demonstrations was the hand
crank goat shearing by John Conners. Quilting was demonstrated by
The old west was brought back to life through several gun fight
performances by the Central Texas Pistoleros.
The Speegleville Volunteer Fire Department did an excellent job
of controlling traffic and making sure that everything went safely.
The ‘show by the side of the road’ created a constant
During the annual business meeting, officers were elected for
the coming year. Bradley Ware was re-elected for his third term as
President. Other officers are Bill Garrett, Vice President and
Laurie Miller, Secretary-Treasurer. Other business included
changing the club’s name from ‘Texas Early Day Gas Engine
and Tractor Association’ to ‘Texas Early Day Tractor and
Engine Association’. This was brought about by the threatened
law suit of the national organization, with which the club is not
One of the most emotional parts of this year’s show came
when tears were brought to the eyes of Cathy Landry. During the
parade she was called away from her duties as the ice cream
chairperson to pull one of the whistles on Calvin Buice’s steam
tractor. As it turned out, it was the whistle given to her by her
father, but she had never heard it because he died before being
able to hook it up. It was one of those special little moments that
club members are able to enjoy with each other as a family.
Plans are already underway for the 1989 show, scheduled for
October 7 & 8 with the hope that Mother Nature will be a little
more cooperative than this past year. For information on this
organization contact Bradley B. Ware, Rt. 3, Box 211, Killeen,