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Making the Show Accessible to All

Author Photo
By Jim Fish | Mar 1, 2000

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Passengers waiting for the chauffeur to tour the Tri-State Show in Portland, Indiana.
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Touring the Portland Show, which would be very difficult if not for the transportation.

Sec. Ashland County Yesteryear Machinery Club, 1557 County Road
995 Ashland, Ohio 44805.

The very nature of the antique tractor and engine hobby attracts
many of our senior citizens, enabling them to relive their earlier
years. As the years go by, many of these people find that Father
Time has taken his toll, and walking around a show becomes
difficult or impossible. There are also younger visitors who,
through accident or illness, find themselves in the same situation,
and the shows no longer have the enjoyment of the past. We realized
this situation several years ago at our annual show, when several
people were observed being pushed in wheel chairs and others with
walking aids such as a cane or crutches.

The decision was made to develop a method of transporting these
people which would enable them to enjoy the show in a similar
manner to others who do not have these physical limitations.

Although a wagon or trailer would enable groups to view the
show, it would not allow for the individualized tour allowing
personal contact with exhibitors, other visitors, and vendors.

To give the spectators the desired tour, the decision was made
to construct trailers designed to handle two people which could be
pulled in tandem if desired, and pulled with a garden tractor. This
enables the passengers to stop and look at the exhibits of their
individual choosing, talk to vendors having items of interest to
the individual, and visit with anyone with whom they wish as they
tour the grounds. The time spent can also be determined by the
individual guests, unlike the time taken when a group tour is
given.

For several years our club, the Ashland County Yesteryear
Machinery Club, has taken a trip by motor coach to the Tri-State
Engine and Tractor Show held at Portland, Indiana. We learned that
several members would like to attend this show, but their physical
limitations prohibited them from attending due to the size of the
show and the walking required. Because of the small size of the
trailers, we found that they could have the seats removed and both
the seats and trailers could be loaded under the coach in the cargo
bays. We also purchased an older Wheel Horse lawn tractor, and with
some alteration, the steering column could be easily removed, and
the tractor could also be loaded in the coach.

We are now able to take those with limitations to this and other
events, where they can enjoy the show which would be impossible
without such a device.

This project has enabled several members to participate in
activities which they would otherwise find impossible, and in some
cases it has enabled the club to repay members who have given much
to the club and its activities in the past. The method used may not
be the only way to accomplish our goal to enable as many to enjoy
these activities as possible. However, it certainly has provided a
fuller, more accessible experience for those who may not have
otherwise enjoyed the activities. We recommend all clubs further
evaluate methods that may similarly promote attendance among a
wider audience.

Gas Engine Magazine

Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines