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Antique tractors
will be on display in May

Carrollton tractor show
to feature antique machinery

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

CARROLLTON, KY. (May 2003) – Joe Martin knows his tractors. He should. He’s been a collector for 30 years.
Although his current collection has diminished from what it was in former years, he still travels to auctions and reads trade magazines searching for the tractor of his dreams.
“That rusty iron gets in your blood,” he said of his hobby. Martin has joined with a local group of antique tractor collectors who have dubbed themselves the Pioneer Power Club.

antique tractors

Photo by Don Ward

Antique tractors like these
will be on display at
the Carrollton show.

To spur interest in their pastime, the club plans to hold a free Antique Tractor Show beginning at 8 a.m. on May 10 in the vacant lot adjacent to Kentucky Motor Service Inc. at 1303 Highland Ave., Carrollton.
Event organizer Calvin Miles said that most members of the club have grown up on farms, been around tractors and enjoy seeing tractors operate. Group members hope to educate as well as entertain their audience by displaying vintage tractors and, in so doing, demonstrate the evolution of farming. Their goal is to teach younger generations “how the country was settled and how farming developed,” he said.
Martin was born and raised on a farm in Tennessee during a time when it was common for a farmer to employ horses and mules to work his cropland. In 1953, his family made the switch to tractors.
Martin said he’s always been interested in machines and has now decided to “preserve the past the best I can.”
He said he tries to buy antique tractors in running condition because replacement parts are expensive for these old iron horses. The oldest tractor Martin will have in the show is a 1928 John Deere D, which he recently purchased in Kansas.
Miles said the club’s board of directors would have 25 tractors on display from their own personal collections, in addition to what other collectors will bring. Farmall, John Deere and Allis Chalmer are just a few of the types of tractors that will be represented.
A 1929 Rumely oil-pull tractor will be included in the lineup. Nearly 60,000 of these tractors were built and are credited with helping to open the Great Plains to cultivation. This line of agricultural equipment was the invention of a German immigrant Meinrad Rumely and his family.
So far, there has been a lot of interest in this type of show, said Miles. He has fielded inquiries from Vevay, Ind., Shelbyville, Ky., and Renfro Valley, Ky. The group is considering organizing another show later this year if its get a positive response from this one.
Like Martin, Miles said he also travels out of state to attend tractor shows. “There are shows like this all over the United States,” he said.
Miles said this event is family oriented, and he gets a kick out of seeing 5- and 6-year-olds driving tractors at such shows. Kids reared in the city don’t usually get the chance to experience farm life in this way, he said.
Greg Braun, manager of Kentucky Motor Service, said his decision to sponsor this event was made on the spur of the moment. He said this show is something unique and rare, and he believes there is quite a bit of interest in such an event.
He said a cookout and a possible tent-sale may accompany the antique tractor show. Braun said even though the event may be starting out small, it would progress into a larger event if enough interest is shown in it. “I like to do things like this to help the community,” he said.
Future plans may include moving the show to the Carroll County Fairgrounds to be held in conjunction with tractor pulls. Members of the club also display tractors at Carrollton’s annual Two Rivers Tobacco Festival, held in the fall.
“This is such a wonderful way to honor the family farm,” said Carrollton-Carroll County Tourism and Convention Commission director Robin Caldwell. The club is trying hard “to remind folks of a way of life that is quickly slipping away,” she said.

For more information, contact Miles at (502) 463-2963 or the tourism office at 1-800-325-4290.

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