Southern Comfort

The Southland Flywheelers 2002

| August/September 2002

The Southland Flywheelers have been meeting for 18 years, and for the last seven their annual tractor and engine show has been held in conjunction with the Alabama Jubilee, one of the largest hot-air balloon meets in the U.S. With 68 hot-air balloons participating in this year's Jubilee, the event is second only to the famed Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta held every fall in Albuquerque, N.M.

Gas Engines and Balloons?

Ballooning is a somewhat capricious sport, relying on fair weather and low wind speeds for a safe and uneventful flight. But the weather, unfortunately, isn't something we can always count on. Appreciating that fact only too well, Jubilee organizers turned to the Southland Flywheelers for help.

According to Wayne Tribble, president of the Southland Flywheelers, Jubilee organizers thought antique engines and tractors would make a perfect fallback in case the weather failed to cooperate, so seven years ago they approached the Southland Flywheelers about displaying their engines and tractors at the Jubilee. The club signed on, and they've been here every year since. And seven years on, it's clear the Southland Flywheelers show has become more than an addition to the Jubilee, turning instead into something of a foundation for an annual event drawing an estimated 50,000 attendees.

Stanley Britton's fantastic circa 1916 12 HP IHC Giant Mogul, s/n P523. It's hard to believe looking at this engine that it's wearing paint put on 20 years ago. Stanley, Athens, Ala., kept the Mogul running almost constantly.

Farmalls were well represented at the show, including this stunning 1936 F-12 belonging to the Redding family of Corinth, Miss.

A circa 1909-1910 15 HP 'left hand' Reid belonging to Charles Wilson, Horton, Ala. The 'left hand' refers to the charging cylinder used on Reid engines, which could be ordered mounted on either the left or right side of the main power cylinder. A beautifully prepared engine, Charles kept it running for the better part of the show.