Summer Vacation At The Shows

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Summer is just around the corner. With April half gone, I know what time of the year it is. Time to start planning summer vacation! Yeah!

Getting the tractors ready for the antique tractor shows sometimes isn’t easy. Especially if the tractors have been sitting for a while. If you read my last blog post about the 22-36, or if you have an antique tractor of your own, you know what I mean.

I’ve been collecting and restoring antique tractors for 18 years now. Some are restored, some are not. I love going to the same shows every year along with going to ones I’ve never been to before. Some people don’t understand that. “Don’t you get bored after awhile? Why don’t you just junk those tractors and spend the money on something else?” No, and no.

Left to right: Ernie Langdon unloads his truck at the NEMO Old Threshers, Shelbina, Missouri; the Back the the Farm Reunion in Boonville, Missouri.

Most of the time, most of the people who ask me these questions are at least one, two or maybe several generations removed from the family farm, if there was a family farm to begin with. The most they have learned about farming may have come from a history book in school, easily forgotten.

This is where exhibitors like my stepdad David and I, along with many others, come in. It’s collectors like us, whether we collect tractors, hit and miss engines, steam engines, cars, trucks or have a pair of draft horses, come in. I like to think of us as not just collectors, but “curators of the good old days.” We find, fix, restore, show off and use all of this stuff for what I believe to be two basic reasons. 1. We love to do it. 2. If we don’t do it, where else will the younger generation get to experience it? Don’t get me wrong, I loved school, but there’s something about experiencing something that’s right there in front of me that lasts longer than what I learned by reading a book. Let me tell you about a few shows I go to.

The Red Power Round Up is an IH only show (the rest of the shows I talk about feature all brands). It’s held in a different location every year. This year, the RPRU will be held at the Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia, Missouri, hosted this year by Missouri IH Chapter No. 1. Did you know that IH made more than just tractors? Cub Cadet riding lawn mowers, push mowers, hit and miss engines, trucks, cream separators, air conditioners, rifles, freezers and refrigerators. Are you a fan of the TV show Friends? FYI, the refrigerator in Monica’s apartment was made by International Harvester.

The Half Century of Progress is held every two years at the Rantoul National Aviation Center Airport, Rantoul, Illinois. It’s a working show with steam engines, tractors, corn pickers and draft horses out in the field picking corn and plowing. If you need a break, you can check out the airplane museum located at the Aviation Center. Where else can you see old airplanes plus witness people driving up and down two miles worth of runways?

The Old Threshers Reunion is in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. It is one of the oldest shows with only a few being around longer. At night, you can watch the steam engines put on a sparks display.

Left to right: An exhibit at the Old Threshers Reunion, and steam engines put on a sparks display at the Midwest Old Threshers, both in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa.

I always thought the North East Missouri Old Threshers put on a good show. The show gets better every year. The animal barn has plenty of farm animals and the kids’ rides are powered by the antique equipment.

The Missouri River Valley Steam Engine Association has its Back to the Farm Reunion in Boonville, Missouri. The Brady Showgrounds is located just off of I-70 at exit 111. Just look for the big red wheel.

Here is my purpose for this blog. As you read this, please consider going to one antique tractor show this summer. They really are fun, watching the demonstrations and the parades, experiencing the food. Hopefully, there will be a local one wherever you are. If you are traveling my way, maybe I’ll see you at some of the shows I go to. Hope to see you there!