Antique Tractor Show is Proven People Pleaser

The New Vision Fire and Rescue in New Bloomington, Ohio, fundraises with an antique tractor show

The New Bloomington Fire and Rescue building, part of the James H. Johnson and Charles Rudd Community Complex.

The New Bloomington Fire and Rescue building, part of the James H. Johnson and Charles Rudd Community Complex.

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Spring and summer bring out the tractors, not only to the fields but also to the many tractor shows held each year. Established show managers know what to expect, but for first-timers the prospect of hosting a show can be daunting. Still, a carefully planned and organized event can be an asset to the community in very meaningful ways.

Show for a good causeAs the morning sun slowly peeked through an overcast sky on a warm day last summer, members and volunteers of the New Bloomington, Ohio, New Vision Fire and Rescue waited with anxious anticipation to see if their invitation to tractor and toy enthusiasts would prove stronger than the weatherman’s cloudy forecast. Rain and scattered showers were predicted through the day – but the weather prediction proved to be a false alarm.

Since Marion County does not have an antique tractor show, this event offered an opportunity for local collectors to exhibit close to home. Not really trusting the weather, few local collectors brought displays to New Bloomington’s first ever tractor show. But those who did were not disappointed.

New Bloomington is a small village situated in western Marion County and home to perhaps 400 people, a large capacity cooperative grain elevator, a Methodist church, sandwich shop, saloon and fire department.

The fire department is located about one-half mile east of town on about 40 acres along State Route 95. The James H. Johnson and Charles Rudd Community Complex houses the New Vision Fire and Rescue, the Johnson/Rudd Food Pantry and the community center. It is a gathering place that plays host to many community social events, a 4-H club and the New Bloomington High School alumni banquet.

An old iron fundraiserThe complex is named in honor of two New Bloomington firemen who lost their lives during an emergency run. Jeff Beck, chairman of the board of trustees, explains that the New Bloomington organization sponsors several events each year to raise funds to maintain the complex and promote community social activities. As with most country volunteer firefighters and emergency crews, tax dollars are never sufficient enough to support the groups’ needs. Periodic fundraisers are necessary to bridge the gap.

The group’s longest running and most successful fundraiser is a car and truck show held each August. The annual Fout-Price Memorial Car Show combines a cruise-in with a chicken barbecue, which draws customized and restored classic and antique cars from a broad area.

Tractors, toys and trophiesThe tractor show was a one-day event. The first arrivals began to roll in at 8 a.m. By 11 a.m., all tractor exhibits were in place and the model toy display was set up. Meanwhile, the concession stands, drawing, raffle and silent auction were underway and ladies in the kitchen were putting the finishing touches on a hog roast dinner. Can you believe it’s a 14-hour job just to roast the hog?

Tractor owners and toy collectors proudly exhibited their treasures. Trophies were awarded for the best tractors. Those attending the show were asked to view the array and make their selections for “People’s Choice” awards. Tom Myers, LaRue, Ohio, won that competition with his Cockshutt 30.

If good food, happy crowds and varied exhibits are any indication of a good show, then the New Bloomington event has to be considered a success. The club is already making plans for the 2011 show. They have an ideal site: it’s high and dry grassed acreage, located near a small village on a state highway, complete with a large meeting facility. For a successful tractor show, what more could you ask for? FC 

For more information: Jeff Beck, 342 Marion-Agosta Rd., P.O. Box 1754, Marion, OH 43301; (740) 360-2845; e-mail: jbeck@johnson-ruddcomplex.org. 

James N. Boblenz grew up on a farm near New Bloomington, Ohio. He now lives in Marion, Ohio, and is interested in antique farm equipment, particularly rare and lesser-known tractors and related items. E-mail him at jboblenz@aol.com.