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Vintage Wheels

Madison, Carrollton to hold antique tractor shows in May

Area collectors enjoy chance
to show off their prized irons

(May 2016) – Tractors are not a thing of the past for Ernie and Judy Crawley. Like other collectors of antique farm equipment, they enjoy attending shows and educating others about what was once a common sight in America.
“We got into it about 10 years ago,” said Judy. “My husband’s always had tractors. He farmed when he was young.”
Ernie, 78, owns about 10 antique farm tractors. The oldest is a 1952 Allis-Chalmers. “He enjoys working on them,” she said.
In fact, Ernie helped start the Kent Vintage Lawn & Garden Tractor Show a decade ago. He was a friend of auctioneer Donald Dunlap, another organizer, and together they organized the tractor show.
“I talked to Tractor Supply about holding it there,” said Ernie. “Then I made a few phone calls, and that was it.”
Ten years later, the Crawleys are still involved, and the tractor show is now organized by the Kent Vintage Lawn & Garden Club. The Crawleys joined the club, which has about 43 members, four years ago.
“We did tractor shows before that one and talked to people at Kent and joined their club and got them interested,” he said.
The couple moved to Madison 25 years ago from Virginia, due to Ernie’s job. Collecting tractors is now a hobby for them, and they usually take three or four tractors to each show.
They have traveled to Carrollton and Owenton in Kentucky, and Osgood, Vevay and New Washington in Indiana, “anywhere there is a downtown parade. We go anywhere we can ride a tractor in a parade,” said Judy.
The Crawleys will participate in the 10th annual Kent Vintage Lawn & Garden Tractor Show from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 21. It’s one of two area tractor shows coming up in May, the second one being in Carrollton, Ky.
The Kent Vintage Lawn & Garden Tractor Show will be held in its usual location at Tractor Supply in Madison, 405 E. Clifty Dr. Door prizes will be handed out and concessions will be available.
“We’ve had about 100 pieces the last few years,” said club member Jeff Shepherd. There are “a lot of old garden tractors.”
Shepherd said the club puts on the show because “we want to preserve the old tractors. We hate to see history go to the scrap pile.”
Collecting tractors and farm implements is a poplar hobby for many in the area. The first tractors in the United States were introduced in the mid-19th century and were powered by steam. These first tractors were used for plowing and threshing.
Manufacturers of early steam tractors included Minneapolis Threshing Machine Co., J.I. Case, and Advance-Rumely.
In 1892, an Iowa inventor named John Froelich built the first gasoline-powered tractor.  During this time, many of the most familiar names in the farm-equipment business got into the tractor trade: International Harvester (1906), J.I. Case (1912), Allis-Chalmers (1914) and John Deere, which bought out Froelich in 1918.
Even car-maker Henry Ford got into the act in 1918 when the first Fordson tractors rolled off Ford’s Dearborn assembly line. Ford withdrew from the farm-equipment business in 1927.
Pioneer Power Antique Tractor Show
Many of these old-timers will be on display at the 14th annual Pioneer Power Antique Tractor Club Show on May 6-7 at Point Park in Carrollton, Ky. This show is sponsored by Mark Smith-State Farm Insurance.
The show will last all day, said organizer Calvin Miles, and last year “we had a really good turnout for it.” He became a member of a local vintage tractor club to prove to future generations how important farming was and still is to everyone.
Participation is not restricted to only members of the Pioneer Power Antique Tractor Club. “It’s open to anybody who wants to bring their tractor or farm equipment. No charge,” said Miles.
He said it was hard to say exactly how many tractors and implements will be on display, but he said he is hoping to have 125 to 150. “It depends on the weather and who is working that day.”
In addition, there will be food vendors, concessions, vendors, live demonstrations, a cut-off saw corn grinder and three to four tractors with a set of plows hooked to them. The latter will not be plowing, just for show.
“In the past we’ve had people from as far away as Versailles, Ky., and North Vernon, Ind.,” he said. “We’ve even had people from Georgetown, Ohio, bring their tractors down to participate.”
There are about 35 members in the club, which includes families. Many of the tractors on display are family owned, having been purchased new and passed down from generation to generation.
Miles’ father, Roy Miles, was a founding member of the Pioneer Power Antique Tractor Club. He and his brother, Randall, were original members as well as their mother, Mary Louise Miles.
Members travel to shows in Osgood, Greensburg, New Washington and Lanesville in Indiana, and to Paris and Renfro Valley in Ky., said Miles. The goal of members is to try and get children involved and teach them about the value of farming as an important food source.
Some of the oldest equipment in this show will date to the 1930s and ’40s and all different brands will be represented. This year’s show will feature Case tractors.
“The local businesses really support us,” said Miles.

• For more information on the Madison tractor show, contact Tractor Supply at (812) 273-7796. For information on the Carrollton tractor show, contact Calvin Miles at (502) 396-2534.

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