SPARK PLUG OF THE MONTH


| November/December 1968



The flicker-era Keystone Motorcycle Cop

Courtesy of Joe Fahnestock, Union City, Indiana 47390

Joe Fahnestock

Dayton Daily News & Radio's 'Joe's Journal'

Gaunt looking antique tractors, towering like primordial beasts of prey, chugged and clattered down Main Street of Portland, Indiana,-snaking their way cross town and into the beautifully shaded Jay County Fairgrounds, lugging their burdens of popping gas engines behind them.

It was the weirdest menagerie of historic agricultural Americana ever to be paraded down the main thoroughfare of any midwest county seat -- and Port-landites and crowds from far and wide congregated to witness the sights thereof.

Jaws dropped and old-timers shifted their cuds from cheek to cheek while 'young-uns' gaped in awe at the strange spectacle unwinding before them as if time had indeed moved backwards - all marking the third annual reunion of the Tri-State Gas Engine and Tractor Association, the largest in the nation.

It was a very hot and humid day-that 23rd of August. And I had worked feverishly in the 'pits' on last-minute mechanical adjustments on the 'mighty Joe Dear Delco-powered garden tractor that I, too, might join the parading extravaganza. But unloading a little three-wheeled monster such as the Joe Dear, single-handed, can have its difficulties -- a situation which left me just enough time and energy to grab my camera and get a picture of the big parade, headed by Russ Flora's lumbering Case Tractor, as it was emerging through the county fair-ground gate.

No sooner had the strange apparition made it entry, followed by hasty un-hitchings and setting up of exhibits, than brawny-armed Spark Plugs began fidgeting with carburetors and spinning fly wheels, exploding the entire fairgrounds into a veritable symphony of popping and banging gas engines.