The Best Shows are the Small Shows
Route 2, Box 127, Kewaunee, Wisconsin 54216
It seems that most tractor show buffs prefer the friendly and relaxed atmosphere at the small shows to the advantages of more numerous exhibits at the big ones. A case in point is the show held July 8, 1984 at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Wencel Vlasak on highway 163 in northern Manitowoc County, Wisconsin. Mr. Vlasak has been a gas engine and tractor collector for about twenty years and, together with his daughter and son-in-law, Linda and Pete Patek, have put on shows each year. 'Jim' has a gas engine collection of more than 150 units, housed in a new pole building, and has many rare engines.
He is shown with his 6 HP Galloway, one of the rare ones, above. Pete Patek is shown with his 24 HP Superior oil field engine (right). It is a big revelation to see Pete start this big engine. With the valves held open, he starts those big flywheels turning and then, in a rather leisurely manner, walks to the front of the engine to release the intake valve and choke it. It invariably starts, to the intense surprise of all of the spectators, who think that a more frantic effort should be necessary! These engines were used as late as thirty years ago in the central midwest to pump oil wells. They were located near the center of a ring of five or six wells, with the pumps connected by means of reciprocating rods sometimes up to a quarter-mile long, to a sort of horizontal crank belted to the engine. The big white tractor, in the next picture, belongs to Dan Pelnar and has a V-12 engine from an American LaFrance fire engine mounted on a McCormick Deering W-9 chassis, which was lengthened to accomodate the big engine. So far, Dan hasn't found a load big enough to stall it! His Lehr 'Big Boy' is an example of a post-WWII tractor built to help satisfy the need for farm tractors when industry was slowly resuming peace-time production.
A crowd of about 200 people were most appreciative and complimentary of the efforts of the Vlasaks and Pateks in staging the show. It is not always necessary to haul our old iron fifty or a hundred miles in order to display it at an established show. Often we can get as much pleasure and satisfaction from exhibiting in our own neighborhood among our friends and acquaintances in a more relaxed surrounding.
Norma Austin,Editor Florida Flywheelers, 6795 58th Avenue, North, St. Petersburg, FL 33709
In the middle of Winter, thousands of people gathered at Pioner Park, in Zolfo Springs, Fla., for a spectacular 4-day engine show, plus more.
This was the 16th Annual Pioneer Park Days show held March 1, 2, 3, & 4, 1984, sponsored by the First National Bank of Wauchula and by the Hardee County Parks Dept. This admission-free show which was originated primarily for the enjoyment of local engine buffs, features the 450 members of the Florida Flywheelers Antique Engine Club.
There were also engine exhibitors from every part of the country, many of them hauling in sizable collections of engines from far distances.
More than 1,000 engines were on display, with about 20 gas or diesel of 10 HP or greater. The largest was the 50 HP twin-cylinder Hagan (shown) and then a 32 HP Fairbanks, plus two 25 HP Fairbanks, together with several 15 and 10 FB-M. Also included were two Reid oilfield type engines, a 20 HP and a 15 HP.
Twice daily, there were informal little parades through the park, featuring the 44 restored tractors and the more than 25 little run-about garden tractor type vehicles.
On Saturday morning, there was the huge parade, originating in Wauchula, 4 miles away, and ending in Pioneer Park.
On Saturday night, after the busiest of the 4 days, the Florida Fly-wheeler Engine club members hosted all engine exhibitors for an hour or two of relaxing and socializing plus coffee and pastries. A fine way to relax after a great day of engine-running.
It was hard to decide what to do first. ..what with more than 21 hours of super entertainment under the Big Top... and the Clydesdale horses 'camped' on the premises for the 4 days, featuring two exhibits daily, in full regalia... there were a total of 450 flea market booths and food booths, offering just about anything you'd want. All you needed was to find the time to do everything!
Don't miss the model table, where many fine little steam and gas engines are being exhibited... total count throughout the park showed more than 325 models being displayed and mostly running.
You haven't seen it all yet! there are the 102 antique trucks and automobiles in their own special exhibit area. Many of these, of course, were featured in the big Saturday parade. And then you certainly wouldn't want to miss the many miscellaneous but related displays. There were 124 of these special exhibits, such as antique tools, spark plug collections, antiques, model airplane engines, etc.
But time ran out on us, as it always does, and we had to pack up and leave. This was undoubtedly the finest collection of nice people ever! Even without the displays, these folks are sure to have a good time wherever they go. It was a pleasure to meet and talk with so many of them.
And all agreed. There is no better way to spend a mid-winter weekend than at Pioneer Park Days.
Lou Buice 306 Dove Creek Trail, Southlake, Texas 76092
The members of the Texas Early Day Gas Engine & Tractor Association have to admit, not everything is bigger in Texas. . . especially when it comes to antique tractor shows.
The interest in antique farm tractors and machinery has been slow to catch on in the Lone Star State. This all appears to be changing for the better though, as a record crowd turned out for the 13th annual Texas Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association Show held August 4 & 5 outside Waco. Approximately 2500 attended the two day show from Oklahoma, Louisiana, New Mexico, Nebraska, Montana, Canada, New Zealand and, of course, Texas. Even a suprise visit was made by Mr. Fred Case, great-grandson of J. I. himself. Case, great-grandson of J.I. himself.
It seems the desire of collecting antique farm machinery is held by only a select few but, with more people in Texas moving to the Sun Belt, that seems to be changing as well. There are around 300 members in the state association which sponsors the annual show and the number is increasing.
If you ever come to Texas on business or just to visit, there are some stops you should try to make. It's guaranteed you will find a big helping of Texas hospitality and the stops will be well worth your while. To begin with, go by and see Louis & Ray Miller in Georgetown about 20 miles north of Austin. These two brothers have gathered an outstanding collection of about 200 tractors and gas engines. Everyone is welcome who has the time to stop and look. A little further south at Floresville, west of San Antonio, there is the Old Tic Toc Ranch, where Erwin & Tillie Kretzschmar are hosts to another fine collection of tractors and stationery engines. (They also have a good collection of tractor seats and antique clocks). Other collectors in the state which deserve more than just honorable mention include: Don & Dan Sell of Perry ton, Texas; Duncan Seawright of Meridian; Calvin Buice of Waco, and Ted Krueger of San Antonio. These Texans are a growing group that have two common goals: to enjoy the fellowship of other collectors and to preserve this portion of our American heritage. These are both accomplished at the Association's annual show. Come join us next August 3rd & 4th.
Attention gas engine and tractor enthusiasts! June 1 and 2, 1985 will mark the first annual gas engine and tractor show at Anderson, Indiana.
The two day show promises to have something for everyone, including: crafts, antiques, a swap meet and flea market.
Those interested in having a booth or having questions please contact Morris Titus, 2025 Hillcrest Drive, Anderson, Indiana 46012.
Morris Titus (one of the founders of the Portland Show) and John Coale are in charge of this new show.
Cash prizes and other awards will be given to the best gas engines and tractors.
Due to limited space, camping will be provided for engine and tractor exhibitors only. For others there are campgrounds and motels nearby.
The show will be on 20 acres of the UAW Local 662 Union Hall grounds, located on State Road 109 bypass.
This show is affiliated with the annual Gaslight Festival, which has week long activities including parades, home tours, hot air balloon races, foot races, dances, etc. Admission is free.
Donald L. Siefker 705 W. Annie Drive, Muncie, Indiana 47302
Tri-State Gas Engine and Tractor Association, Inc. held its 19th annual Antique Engine and Tractor Show August 23-26 at the attractive Jay County Fairgrounds in Portland, Indiana. Statistics on the 1984 show, again record breaking, are as follows: 2, 183 gasoline engines, 309 tractors, 6 steam traction engines, 3 scale steam engines, and 42 other displays (cars, tools, blacksmiths, etc.) brought by 1,250 exhibitors from 27 states and 1 Canadian province were proudly displayed at the shaded exhibit grounds.
Saw milling, threshing, and apple butter making were some of the other popular attractions along with the Association's 1923 Fairbanks Morse 100 HP diesel engine. The arts and crafts and antique show and sale, the nightly entertainment, and the ample amount of good food served by service groups, made for lots of fun for young and old. The Trading Post continued to provide an excellent service and enjoyed heavy traffic. An expanded camping area was put to good use by campers this year.
Tri-State's 20th Anniversary Show will be held on August 22, 23, 24, 25, 1985 at the same location. Several special activities and items are being planned to commemorate the 20th Show. You are invited to come and to help continue the tradition of making the Tri-State Antique Engine and Tractor Show one of the finest and largest of its kind in the world. Hope to see you there!!
Living up to the traditions of the past seven years, the eighth annual Yankee Engine-uity Show on June 23 and 24 at the Orange Airport was tremendous. 280 exhibitors started arriving early on Friday from all over New England as club members put the finishing touches on the show grounds. As in the past, the gas and steam engine show was held in conjunction with the air show, antique car club rally and flea market.
By 10:00 AM Saturday eight rows of engines over 400' long greeted the visitors as they came onto the field. With smoke and steam coming from Chet Petrowsky's boiler in the middle of the whole scene, 44 steam engines and models were operating off the boiler.
Club President, Ellsworth Songer summed up the workers' sentiment in his greeting for this year's video tape of the show, 'We have good weather,
A great crowd of exhibitors and spectactors and plenty of good food, so enjoy yourself.'
This year's show broke down to 634 gas engines, 44 steam engines, 10 tractors, 4 hot air engines, 33 antique cars and 47 miscellaneous machines and displays. Nellie Bates with her family and Phil Whitney with his sons displayed many of the older hand tools including ice cutting equipment, wood pipe boring, log hewing and blacksmithing.
If volume of water used by the participants is any indication of success, it had to be good. Two trucks moved over the field all day both days filling engines and the four fixed tanks. While no one waited, it kept members on their toes to keep up with the demand.
Over 200 flea market people offered their wares at the far end of the field. These ranged from antiques and antique parts to modern plastic items. Many members found the item they needed at one of the booths.
As always, the yankee horse-trading between exhibitors saw engines, pumps, grinders and the like swapped and traded for what each person felt was a good deal for him. The shingle mills always seem to draw a crowd and at times they could not keep up with the demand for souvenir shingles.
The crosscut saw contest proved to be an attraction again this year, some people admitting to practicing some beforehand to improve their times.
As the last sawdust and trash was picked up Sunday night, the fence posts and rope put away, members all agreed it was the biggest and best show of the club's history. Plans and suggestions to add to next year's show were already being discussed.
Text and photos by Phil Whitney.