Tractor, gas engine club celebrates 25 years with weekend show

By Josette Keelor

Saturday’s 25th annual show presented by the Massanutten Antique Tractor and Gasoline Engine Club will be a celebration of farm equipment.

The show at the Shenandoah County Fairgrounds in Woodstock runs June 13-15, and admission is free.

Activities include displays of tractors, cars, trucks, gas engines, steam engines and farm equipment, HAM radio and blacksmithing demonstrations, kiddie barrel train rides, and a flea market/yard sale encouraging community participation. There also will be food stands, and a collection of non-perishable food items will support area food pantries.

On Friday, the club’s third public consignment auction will begin at 5 p.m., and a toy sale starting that night will continue from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.

A children’s fair from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday will kick off a day of tractor races and tractor pulls. A tractor parade and poker run will be at 2 p.m.

On Sunday, following an 8 a.m. non-denominational church service, the children’s fair will continue from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Edinburg resident Beverly Coker, who joined the club last summer, is looking forward to the Members’ Tractor Trail Ride at 10 a.m. Sunday, a 6 ½- mile ride taking participants on tractors through the countryside and downtown Woodstock.

“People come out and watch,” she said. “This will be my first one, but I remember seeing the trail ride.”

She plans on riding the tractor her husband gave her for her birthday in 2012 — the one her grandfather Russel Wilt left to her mother and which Coker’s husband managed to track down for her.

“When I was a kid, my grandfather didn’t have a car,” Coker said. Instead, he rode around on the 1951 Furguson she intends on leaving her young grandson.

“My goal was for it to never leave the family,” she said. “Its name is Russel.”

Other members have similar stories, like Jim Stup of Strasburg, former club president and member since 2002.

“There will be a number of tractors there that have that kind of history, that it would belong to your father, your grandfather,” he said.

“I grew up on a dairy farm,” he said, “so I have that background love.”

It wasn’t exactly fun milking cows or bailing hay, “but at the end, you get to start the tractor up and drive through the field.”

“It was a special time,” he said. “It beat the heck out of working.”

This year the popular Oliver tractor and 1947 Gravely engine will share the spotlight of featured equipment. There are no registration or entry fees, Stup said, and participants get a plaque and a goody bag.

“Often families specialize in one brand tractor,” he said. “Some people drive John Deeres. John Deeres are a dime a dozen. Anybody can drive a John Deere. … Others say Olivers are trash.”

When Bill Green of Edinburg founded the club in 1990, there were 25 members, including his son Billy Green, the club’s first president. Now 160 people call themselves members under president Jordan Rinker.

The 25th annual show is a milestone in the club’s growing history, but its big moneymaker will happen in Septementer when the club will raffle off a 1950 8N Ford tractor at the Edinburg Ole Time Festival.

More than 800,000 were made between ’39 and ’52, Stup said, and at least 500,000 are still running to day.

“I bet John Deere can’t say that,” he said.

To participate in the flea market/yard sale, call Beverly Coker at 301-905-2908.