Life In The Fast Lane

By Staff
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A scene from 'The Mud Hole Pull of '88', last October. 1948 IH truck (with 1935 J.D. 'D' on it) towing trailer loaded with 25 HP 'Marion' engine.

P.O. Box 333 Holland, Texas 76534

The antiques that haul antique tractors and engines to shows
deserve recognition, too. This story begins two weeks prior to our
annual Texas Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association Show,
which was held October 1 and 2, 1988.

I had my 1935 John Deere D loaded on my 1948 International
flatbed truck and I had my one cylinder 25 HP Marion engine on its
trailer which was hooked up to the truck. I decided to take these
to the show grounds two weeks early to allow more time for other

My fellow collector, Richard A. ‘Smitty’ Smith (who was
going to follow me), asked me just prior to embarking upon this
journey, ‘Are you going to travel on the frontage road when we
get to IH35?’ I replied, ‘Naw, not me, I’m gonna run
with the big boys-those Peterbilts and Freightliners in the fast
lane!’ And I did-to within 1.8 miles of the show grounds!
That’s when the old flatbed started smoking and slinging oil!
I’m talking slinging (actually blowing) oil! I also had it
boiling water real good! Most steam engineers would have given $20
for the start I had on that water! It took about two and a half
hours to get towed near the show area and to get everything tied
down or covered up. By this time, the truck had cooled down a few
degrees so I thought I’d see if the engine would turn over. It
would, though slowly, but after a few revolutions it blew the oil
filler cap about halfway to the moon, so I got to figuring there
was a hole somewhere that wasn’t cast in the factory!

I returned the following weekend (one week prior to the show)
and tore down the engine to look for the suspected hole. I found
the hole as soon as I lifted off the head. There was the neatest
hole burned in the approximate middle of piston #1.

Now, to tell the exact ordeal of what it took to get a piston
for a 1948 IH truck would take another 18 pages so let me just say
I did get a piston and gaskets before the show. I had intended to
take off work Thursday and put the truck back together and on
Friday do some fixing-up on our old pull sled. Well, it had been
pretty dry in Texas-up until this show weekend. On Thursday, while
I was trying to put the truck together (outside), it stormed and
rained FIVE INCHES! Between thunderstorms, I managed to build a
tarp cover over the truck and get it about halfway back together.
On Friday, I began to complete the truck. Because our showground
was soaking wet, I couldn’t get to the old pull sled and we
weren’t going to be able to have a tractor pull in this mud
anyway. So, I would work on the truck awhile, discuss the show
(rain, mud, etc.) awhile, work on the truck awhile, and at twenty
minutes ’till 5 p.m., I got it cranked up.

Now, it really wasn’t totally necessary to have the truck
running for the show, but something real interesting (in my
opinion) happened during this muddy show. Since our showground was
too muddy, Mr. Calvin Buice opened up his large steel building
(Thanks, Calvin!) for demonstrations, etc. and we strung out
tractors and engines along the sides of the state highway and
county road near the building.

I wasn’t able to unload the ’35 D because of the mud,
but I did get to ‘mud-around’ with my ’29 D on steel.
The tractor parade was held on Saturday in front of the large
building and this had made a pretty fair size mud hole! At about
the midway point of the Sunday parade, I had this interesting
thought that I mentioned earlier. Why not get my ’48
International flatbed truck with the ’35 D on it pulling the
long trailer with the big one cylinder Marion 25 engine and pull
off into this nice BIG mud hole that these other fellows had worked
so hard to make?! So, I got my two sons, Nathan 7 and Nicholas 4,
and we crawled in the ’48 and did just that-we pulled off into
that mud hole! And we got real good and stuck-just like we wanted

Now, I’ve seen quite a few things pulled out of mud holes,
but I ‘ain’t ever seen’ this many tractors wanting to
pull something out of a mud hole without even being asked! As they
hooked up more and more tractors, my wife Nancy was watching me and
the boys having fun as she helped other ladies dip up that homemade
ice cream made by antique engine powered freezers. You see, since I
was chairman of the Pull Committee, I felt as though I had to give
these ol’ boys something to pull to get rid of that urge to
pull, since our tractor pull had been rained out.

I thought we had a very good show, with a large number of
various demonstrations, displays and exhibitors. It didn’t rain
on Saturday or Sunday. The mud was from the two days prior to the
show. It seemed as though everyone enjoyed the show. Some
especially got a kick out of what I call ‘the mud hole pull of
’88’. One member summed it up this way, by saying to me,
‘the crowd enjoyed the tractors trying to pull you out of the
mud hole so much, even if it is dry next year, we’re going to
have to wet down a mud hole and let you drive off into it!’

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