|Pike Antique Tractor Show Benefits Local Food Bank|
By Kellie Henderson
In its third year, the show is part of the national Harvest for All campaign, a joint effort of the American Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer and Rancher division and America’s Second Harvest (the Nation’s Food Bank Network) to feed the hungry in America. En lieu of admission to see these pieces of farming history, people are asked to donate funds or non-perishable food items for the Pike County Food Bank.
Pike County Young Farmers Chairman James Jordan said the event has proven to be beneficial for the local food bank.
"We’ve collected between 300 and 400 pounds of food plus donations in previous years, and we hope we can continue to grow. We want to get more exhibitors every year to bring more people out to the show," Jordan said.
"While they may not come to a show just because they hear about it, most of them will bring their equipment if we call and personally ask them, especially when it’s for a good cause," he added.
The tractor show was scheduled this year to coincide for the first time with the Pike County Cattlemen’s annual equipment auction at Cattleman Park just south of Troy.
"We thought by holding the two events on the same day both organizations could take advantage of each others’ advertising and crowds," Jordan said.
All this year’s entries shone as though they’d just been driven off the showroom floor, and one Brundidge man had a lot to do with that. Earl Snodgrass painted all but one of the tractors in the show.
While Snodgrass said he’s never really kept track of how long it takes to paint an antique tractor, he said the preparation is extensive.
"You have to have everything clean before you can begin to paint. It takes as much as two days of work just to scrape off old grease. I use a polyurethane paint, which is fairly expensive, and I put just as much paint on the bottom and other parts people might not notice as I do on the top. I want them to be in new or better than new condition when I’m done," he said.
"I’m always willing to talk with people about tractors, and the people who restore them are generally nice people. I don’t care much for fishing, I don’t care much for hunting, and I don’t much like sports. I just like this," he said.
In addition to attracting farmers who grew up around many of the tractors and implements now considered antiques, a much younger crowd also seems drawn to these memorials of the days before on-board navigation systems and air-conditioned cabs made farming a little easier.
Five-year-old Julia Williams of Montgomery put on her rubber boots to accompany her grandparents Eddie and Sarah Black of Brundidge as they perused the tractors on display.
"I just like to look at them," she said, tilting her head back to look inside the rim of a tire much taller than herself.
Julia’s "Pappy" Eddie has antique tractors but didn’t risk bringing them out in inclement weather. She also said she brought her dog-shaped change purse in case she saw anything at the auction she needed to buy Pappy and Gran for their farm.
"They have goats I like to feed, and some of them are nice. And they have two dogs and that’s it," she said.
James Jordan’s sons Jayden, 4, and Dalton, 13-months, also enjoyed the tractor show, climbing on and pretending to drive their grandfather’s entry in the show, a Massey Ferguson made in the early 1970s.
"I have a play tractor I can drive by myself, and I ride on my daddy’s tractor a lot of times with him," Jayden said, adding he plans to someday be in the driver’s seat on a real tractor of his own.
"I want to be a farmer when I grow up and ride a tractor and a horse and have my own cows," Jayden said.
James Jordan said the interest of local people in antique tractors was a major influence on why the Pike County Young Farmers first decided to have an antique tractor show several years ago.
"There’s just a lot of interest in our area in farming and antiques, so we felt like it would be a good draw. We liked the idea of doing something farm-related for Harvest for All, and nobody else in Pike County does an antique tractor show. It seemed like a good fit," he said.
Jordan and the Pike County Young Farmers thank everyone who made donations and helped make the tractor show possible.
"I know it takes a lot of time and work to restore an old piece of equipment or tractor, and I understand why some people didn’t want to get theirs out in this weather. But we sure thank the one’s who did, and the Pike County Cattle-men’s Association for being good to us and letting us use their facility."
Kellie Henderson is a freelance writer from Troy.