Saving Old Iron Horses: a Classic Tractor Club’s Mission
By Tom Seest
At ClassicTractorNews, we help classic tractor lovers keep up with the latest news for classic and vintage tractors.
As new technologies replace old ones, tools used by past generations to do their work often get left behind to rust away. One club seeks to preserve these timeless objects for future generations by collecting old iron horses.
Each year, the Three Rivers Park District’s Midsummer Festival attracts a variety of attendees who attend their Tractor Club Show at the Three Rivers Park District.
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The National Vintage Tractor and Engine Club is a nationwide organization with thousands of members across the United States. It consists of local chapters known as Groups that can form when enough members live nearby; these Groups may hold their own events as well as assist when needed during events where a main club stand may not exist.
The clubhouse can be found on Waterville Road and hosts meetings and events for its members. Walls inside are covered with pictures from days gone by as well as logos of tractor brands like John Deere and Allis Chalmers tractors – “a way to remember what was, and hopefully, foster an interest in how things were done,” according to club president Pam Vaillancourt.
Many members are retired, while others belong to a younger generation interested in restoring and using old equipment. Each year, the group restores two to three tractors for show or sells them at a charity auction. This year, they have undertaken an unusual project: they are refurbishing a 1945 Allis-Chalmers Model C from one of their restoration efforts to display at Homestead National Monument near Beatrice, Nebraska, where it played an instrumental role clearing land as part of an 1862 homestead claim filed.
Apart from regular meetings, the Club hosts an annual show and road run in spring. Furthermore, members participate in parades and community functions and host booths at local events where the public can view old equipment used on farms themselves and converse with people using these machines on farms themselves.
Membership in our club is a family affair, and spouses play an active role in many activities of the club. For example, wives assist with registration for annual shows as well as food preparation for the opening night of shows. They also assist at picnics after tractor rides as well as parades by riding buddy seats or trailers themselves.
The Classic Tractor Club is an organization of people that meet monthly to share experiences related to antique farm equipment, their experiences using it, photos of tractors they own, and events they attend throughout the year; additionally, they participate in tractor pulls; all members are committed to restoring historic farm machinery.
The club provides an ideal setting for meeting new people and making friends, as well as learning about various tractor brands and manufacturers. There is also information about events occurring nearby that the club hosts, as well as various activities offered through them. Furthermore, members are always willing to assist others and share their love of vintage farm machinery with anyone willing to join their ranks!
Tractor Pulls are a fun family event to attend. These shows showcase an assortment of tractors, with each possessing its own distinctive traits. Held across the country at various venues, these competitions include various classes for contestants to compete in; each winner is determined based on how well their tractor performs in that class. Many people enjoy attending these events, and you could even win prizes just by participating.
Tractors are powerful machines that can help you complete tasks faster, but, like any piece of equipment, require regular maintenance in order to run properly. If you want your tractor running efficiently for years to come, here are a few things you can do to maintain its good condition.
One way to keep a tractor from overheating is using a radiator flush. This will remove rust from cooling fins and improve the performance of your tractor, while installing a new radiator hose may also help. Both strategies should help improve coolant flow while protecting it from collapsing under pressure.
The Classic Tractor Club was established by Craig Seabrook and Fred Kuntz with the aim of preserving and maintaining Gravely tractors and started by publishing Old Gravelys Magazine before creating the annual Mow-In event held annually at West Virginia, the site of Gravely’s original plant. Attractions at Mow-In include multiple classes and pairing it with other tractor shows.
Classic tractor club members enjoy reliving the past through their vintage vehicles: tractors, gas engines, and equipment. At shows and gatherings devoted to classic tractors such as tractor pulls, they love showing off these vintage vehicles while discussing them with fellow enthusiasts – some might collect specific brands such as Ford tractors while others like to talk about different models that may no longer be in production for some reason.
A new addition to the park’s collection is an antique tractor and engine show held each spring and summer, featuring over 100 exhibitors and drawing thousands of visitors. Alongside tractors, visitors can see steam engines and other antique power machinery on display; other activities at this event include a tractor parade, threshing demonstrations and sawmill demonstrations, as well as an antique tractor pull.
At this show, there will be an impressive array of antique farm equipment on display, such as old tractors, plows, and wagons. Visitors will also find old-fashioned crafts, food, and entertainment at this annual tradition aimed at preserving agricultural history.
Tractors have become an iconic fixture at many events and parades across the nation. One such parade can be found at Gillespie County Fair, featuring antique trucks with decorated tractors being pulled by local farmers dressed up with red, white, and blue flags to add patriotic spirit.
Tractor pulling is an exciting competitive event in which small, gas-operated tractors compete against each other to see who can complete a full pull over an established distance first. Each competitor has an approved weight limit and class designation; winners are determined by who completes it first. Prizes are given out to the top three finishers in each class if there are violations of rules; any competitors found breaking the rules lose points and money associated with that event altogether. Various classes exist, from “doodlebugs” (small) up to pro-stock tractors (big).
The Central Maine Antique Tractor Club, established in 1994, is a nonprofit organization that promotes the restoration and preservation of antique tractors, gas engines, farm equipment, and display/demo/puls. Open to both individuals and families alike, with approximately 500 members, its goal is to preserve farming history for future generations while providing families with an enjoyable place to gather together.
Classic Tractor Club provides more than entertainment. They discuss many important topics, like the family’s role as the cornerstone of society. Furthermore, the club gives back by supporting local charities and community projects, like helping out Amanda-Clearcreek School garden with tilling operations or visiting schools to allow children to sit on tractors.
Club members share a passion for old metal, though their interests can range widely. Some collect specific types of tractors (brand or model); others focus on repairing or maintaining their machines; still others participate in tractor-pulling competitions by pushing or hauling a heavy sled around a track.
Some members enjoy attending activities and shows such as the Park Rapids Antique Tractor and Engine Field Days, held annually, which features threshing and sawmill demonstrations, tractor parade, dancing to live music at the pavilion, tractor pulls, etc. It will take place this year from August 4-5 at showgrounds located off County Rd 6 south of Park Rapids.
The Central Maine Antique Tractor Club annually organizes an East Central Benefit Tractor Cruise as an annual fundraiser, collecting an entry fee and pledges in support of area charities. Since 2012, they have raised over $50K through this fundraiser; proceeds help pay for upcoming events as well as expenses incurred; veterans organizations receive contributions; sharing and Caring Hands Inc in Minneapolis also benefit.
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