Edwards River Antique Engine show is Sept. 20-21

Cathy Decker/Staff reporter
Dick McMeekan drives his 1935 Farmall F12 as Les Brasmer operates an early 1920s McCormick Deering binder on an oat field.

A parade of rust and smoke takes place at 2 p.m. in New Windsor Rodeo Park Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 20-21 each day. Tractors, old and older, will be chugging through the fairgrounds, complete with public announcements about the vehicles and drivers. “The old tractors will be out, some in their old condition, some renewed,” said Dick McMeekan, president of the Edwards River Antique Engine Association. “The old tractors, some of it’s rusty and some of it looks better than it did when it came out of the factory.”

Show hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

“There actually is rust and smoke during this parade,” he said. Probably the oldest tractor in the parade will be a 1926 Farmall regular, he said. “We have them on up into the 1960s.” McMeekan estimated there would be from 60 to 70 tractors. “Some years we’ve had more than 100,” he said of the organization that has held fall shows for the past 23 years.

Each year a different tractor and engine is featured. This year’s feature tractor is CASE tractors and equipment and GADE engines. All exhibitors will receive buttons and plaques for being a part of the show. He expects to have from 40 to 50 old engines show up. “Some of them are pretty old,” he said.

McMeekan said the mission of the association is the same as when it was founded 23 years ago - to preserve the past and pass on the knowledge of yesteryear to the younger generation. “The talk is pretty much the same - about the past and how things were done then, in comparison to now.”

The show will feature demonstrations of threshing oats at 1 p.m. each day and some tractor games, involving wagon backing, chain looping and a blindfolded driver event. As for threshing oats, McMeekan says, “threshing demonstrations are at 1 p.m. both days. We don’t want to work too hard. If you thresh more than 20 minutes or so it turns into work. We want to have fun.”

Admission is $3, with children 12 and younger are free.

For the kids there are planned pedal tractor pulls and straw scrambles. “I think we’ll probably put candy in the straw,” he said.” That’s better for the cows when we bale it up than if they eat money.”

The drawing for a Case IH kiddie pedal tractor raffle item will be done on Sunday at 4 p.m.

A flea market, tractor part vendors, music in the afternoon and a Sunday church service are all part of the activities. “There also is an antique toy display both days,” said McMeekan.

The Edwards River Antique Engine Association meets monthly at the Viola Community Center on the second Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. (except for Dec., Jan. and Feb.) “July is usually an oat binding or wheat binding event with a potluck supper.”

For more information on this annual event, call McMeekan at (309) 596-2348 or Lloyd Carlson at (309) 334-2324.