Antique Farm Equipment Show steals hearts, brings memories
People came from all over the United States for a walk down memory lane at the 27th annual California Antique Farm Equipment show at the International Agri-Center in Tulare, which began Friday and runs through the weekend.
Walter Watte is the show chairman, and he said there is an antique tractor and truck parade on both Saturday and Sunday, and a special steak dinner fundraiser. Watte is featuring his Uncle George Watt’s 1947 two-cylinder John Deere in the show, but invited all makes and models. George was one of the show founder’s in 1993.
“I’m proud to carry on the family tradition of celebrating their farming heritage with tractors, engines, shared meals, old-fashioned contests and family time together,” Watte said. “Go get out there and ask questions, join activities, and enjoy the history of farming that’s made California great.”
Besides all kinds of antique farm equipment, there is a Model “A” Car exhibit, a military museum, antique trucks, tractor rides, tractor pulls, and swap meet. On Saturday there is an antique equipment auction, bucking bull and broncs and a hay bale maze. There are line dances, folkloric dances, and a pedal pull competition. There are pie-eating, milk chugging contests, and more. And a fundraising steak dinner with entertainment by Lori Hannah and San Joaquin Junction. On Sunday from 7 - 8 a.m. there is a pancake breakfast and worship service.
Looking at beautifully restored tractors, Tim Brodell of Fresno is originally from North Dakota, and grew up on a farm and he had 1000 head of cattle. He remembers using tractors like the 1970 Turbo International.
“These tractors are museum quality. They are restored as nicely as any show car,” said Brodell. “The field International is a demonstrator, they’d use this tractor to sell all the farmers and show them how good the tractors were. It was probably $10,000 in 1970, and restored between $45-50,000. It belongs to Tony and Carol Ramos of Tony Ramos Farms.”
Nick Seraphin said his family have lived and farmed in Woodville for 103 years. He was showing his 1974 and 1964 Minneapolis-Moline tractors, and explained the cotton pickers with cages that could be put on Farmall tractors.
“In the 40s and 50s you would pick cotton in the fall, then take the rig off and use the tractor for the rest of the year. Farmers had to diversify -- we didn’t have the amount of land to justify the equipment we have now. My grandfather farmed 40 acres, and now we have 320 acres. In those days you used several tractors and mules to keep up with the work,” said Seraphin. “Now we have a GPS tractor that steers itself, and a laser scraper that moves the dirt. But I like all the old tractors. They are more reliable, because when the technology goes down, you’re stopped. Farmer’s can’t wait around.”
Jane and Manuel Rocha from Gault were enthralled looking at the antique tractors, and said they have a Model B Farmall tractor sitting on their patio overlooking the pool.
“We love it that much,” said Jane. “It was really nice when we bought it three years ago. It’s so beautiful. Once you have one, you want more.” She said their children and grandchildren also love the tractor.
Jennifer and Wayne Chavez from Bakersfield are vendors, and they met people from Illinois and other parts of the country.
Martin McQuire of Central Valley Vintage Machinery Association said through the years there have been so many changes made to tractors and machinery, but if you take care of the machinery it should last another 100 years. He was showing a 1948 Ford tractor and said it was designed by Henry Ford himself.
He said Ford was ahead of his time with his cars and trucks, and the three-point hitch on the tractor made it indispensable for farmers. They could hitch just about any kind of machinery to it. It could pull a plow, a harrow, discs, scrapers, blades, a post hole digger, just about anything.
Sandy and Mike Bohlenfrom Pasadena also enjoyed the show, and Mike stopped by a 1942 John Deere tractor and had his photo taken. They have a John Deere tractor in their front yard, and neighborhood girls were driving it the other day.
For more information www.antiquefarmshow.org or call (559) 688-1030