Homemade Tractors, Huber, Indiana and More

2006 Tri-State Gas Engine and Tractor Association Reunion puts spotlight on rare and unusual tractors.

| February 2007

Looking for a show featuring gas engines? The Tri-State Gas Engine and Tractor Association Reunion (Portland, Ind.) is the show to see. Held each August, the show got its start in 1965 as a venue for engine displays by southeastern Indiana, southwestern Ohio and Kentucky collectors.

But you'll see more than engines at Portland. Although the 2007 gas engine display drew nearly 1,800 engines, the show also drew some 720 gas tractors, 330 garden tractors, 19 steam engines, 545 model tractors, 131 model engines, 21 antique cars, 71 antique trucks and about 840 miscellaneous exhibits. The 2006 show featured exhibitors from 33 states, Washington, D.C., Canada and Australia.

Daily demonstrations included sawmill, shingle mill and buzz saw operations. Steam engines were on the job, and plowing demonstrations were held like clockwork. The Girard family demonstrated old-time methods of harvesting grain. They threshed wheat, demonstrated corn husking/shredding, shelling and grinding, and used silage equipment – all wearing the International Harvester label.

International was in fact the featured gas tractor at the 2006 show. The display included at least one of every early numbered series tractor (10-20, 15-30, 22-36 and so on), every Model F Farmall, every letter series Farmall and most of the number tractors from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. The stars of the display were a 1906 friction-drive tractor, an early evaporative cooled 10-20 (just 85 of that model were built), 15-30 gas Moguls and a pair of enormous prairie tractors (a 30-60 Titan and 30-60 Mogul). Other crowd pleasers: an IHC cultivating tractor, an 8-16 Mogul, a 10-20 Titan and an 8-16 International. The display did not break the feature tractor record at Portland, but did boast an array of 365 IHC tractors.

Each day one could stand by and listen to the continual whomp-whomp-whomp of the friction-drive tractor, the muffled thumping of the big 30-60 Mogul and 30-60 Titan or the heavy roar of the 6-cylinder diesel industrial engine. Each tractor was operated at least twice daily and at different times, so enthusiasts could take it all in without missing a beat.

A casual tour of the tractor exhibit area is not sufficient to see all the rare and unusual tractors there. "Doodlebug" homemade tractors were very interesting; other standouts included Indiana, Huber, Minneapolis, Rumely GasPull, Russell and Toro golf course tractors. A brief history of each: