Antique Tractor & Engine Show
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 10-11, 1994.
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 buildings.
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 cosmetically restored.
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 ?