43138 Road 52, Reedley, California 93654
The recent California Antique Farm Equipment Show was a production of International-Agri Center and was held at their privately owned show grounds at Tulare on April 17 & 18, 1993. Their regular equipment show has been an annual event for the past 26 years and is known for its performance throughout the world. The board decided in 1992 that they would like to expand and establish an antique farm equipment show. Much planning, time, and money was spent in its preparation during the preceding year, as this show was advertised far and wide in leading farm and hobby magazines. Antique equipment began to arrive three days before show time, and by Friday afternoon, the place was buzzing with activities. The streets had been laid out in square blocks and each club was assigned a certain block, which made it real nice for getting around.
The weather was cooperative, which added to the show's success. The show board had extended invitations to many engine clubs and individuals. Whoever had a farm antique to display was welcome, and many clubs responded. With advance planning, strong support was rendered by nine of the ten EDGE &TA California Branches. Those who participated were Branches 3, 6, 13, 18, 22, 27, 30, and 31. In addition to these: Western Heritage Engine and Antique Tractor (better known as W.H.E.A.T.) with headquarters in Ripon; California Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Assn., with headquarters in Vista; and San Joaquin Flywheelers Engine Club of the Fresno area, also participated. As stated before, the board had made preparations to have food booths, phone booths, and entertainment available within easy reach of all exhibitors. In addition to the engines/tractors there were many other events such as: horseshoe tournament, craft show, swap meet, cow pattie bingo, fashion show, slow tractor races, pedal power show, and a blacksmith demonstration. Not to be forgotten was that colorful tractor parade on both days plus an exciting tractor pull, which was full of action. It would be proper to mention that EDGE & TA Branch 8 president, Floyd Schmall, came out in first place with his powerful Minneapolis Moline tractor while his dad, Ken Schmall, also won first place with his tractor in another pull. Sunday morning a good size congregation met at the grandstand for church services led by Father Rick of Tulare. The show board on Monday morning recorded that 6,000 visitors had passed through the gates for the show, besides a host of volunteer workers. Records also told us that 220 tractors, 140 engines with related machines were exhibited, plus the 75 tractors that came only for the tractor pull.
Special recognition should be given to Doug Peltzer who brought and exhibited 29 John Deere tractors all restored. A fleet of flatbed trucks hauled in and returned 10 loads of his tractors, plus what Doug brought in himself with his tractor trailer. One was able to walk down John Deere Avenue and see his tractors all displayed in showroom condition. When one came to the end of the avenue, he would turn to the left and return coming back on John Deere Alley, where the rest of his tractors were lined up in neat rows. Now these tractors in the alley were also neatly restored, but perhaps had a minor flaw or scratch, which had to be repaired and polished before they could be moved up to his John Deere Avenue. HATS OFF to Doug for his excellent performance in tractor restoration! Exhibits like these are very valuable to any show. Another outstanding exhibit was the showing of a 1909 15-45 Case steam traction engine owned by John and Mike Boyajian of Dinuba, California. These brothers made a special effort to keep the steam up to full strength as they paraded around their Case for all to see and hear all of their four steam whistles, just by pulling one of their cords attached to each whistle. Also, an outstanding exhibit was an early 1920s Minneapolis tractor rated as 37-70 HP owned and shown by Bouris Ranches of Sun City, California. This extra large tractor was in mint condition and looked like it had just been driven out of a showroom. Truly an outstanding exhibit, which was admired by many, many visitors. Not to be overlooked was a 1911 15-30 HP Rumely single cylinder tractor owned by Irv Baker of Ripon. Irv said that he had purchased this tractor in Idaho a number of years ago, and hauled it home in basket-lots; it had taken him a full year to assemble it. For some reason or other, this neatly restored tractor caught the eye of show chairman George Watte, who certainly enjoyed being at the controls and steering this monster around on the show grounds, trying very hard to dodge all visitors and engines alike and was supervised by Baker's two sons, who were available should George fail to make the proper turns by guiding the chain driven steering mechanism.
On the last day of the show, representatives passed out evaluation sheets to each exhibitor asking them to state the show in various categories and what changes or improvements could be made for the 1994 show. These opportunities of expression were certainly appreciated by exhibitors who made various suggestions. The exhibitors rated the overall show a 9 on a scale of 1 to 10 and 99% said they would be returning next year.
So near the end of the show, exhibitors began to coil up their safety ropes, cool down their engines, and pack up their supplies. Many new friendships were made and old ones renewed, each expressing a desire to return next year.
In the afterglow of the show, and throughout the following week, while speaking to various exhibitors and paid visitors alike, the general feeling was that this show, located in central California, has the potential to grow and develop into a much greater show in the years to come, and be a benefit to the many people who wish to preserve our heritage. All of us wish to thank show chairman George Watte and his dedicated staff, who had a great vision in mind by establishing this extraordinary antique show.