Two shows for the price of one: that's what visitors to the Missouri River Valley Steam Engine Association Show got last month. In addition to all the familiar sights and sounds of that group's annual show, the Classic Tractor Calendar Club held its first-ever reunion at the show in Boonville in central Missouri. The host organization presented a strong show marked by variety. Demonstrations featured everything from threshing to rock crushing. Several steam engines lumbered about the showgrounds (including full size, miniatures and scale models, there were at least 14 at the show), and tractors were, simply, everywhere. In addition to the 63 Calendar Club tractors, another 400 or so were displayed as part of the MRVSEA show, and still another 150 were on hand for tractor pulls.
"It was one of the smoothest running shows we'd had in a long time," said MRVSEA board member Dennis Ficken. "Everybody said they hadn't seen a finer show at Boonvilie. I thought we had one of the finest collections of different types of tractors you could find in the United States."
Even the weather cooperated. "Everything starts with the weather," said John Harvey, founder of the Classic Tractor Calendar Club. "We had three absolutely gorgeous days."
The Classic Tractor Calendar Club reunion gave the show an extra bit of sparkle. For 10 years, John Harvey – a Missouri native now living in Delaware – has produced the Classic Farm Tractors Calendar, featuring a different rare and beautifully restored tractor each month. The Boonville show was a unique opportunity to gather as many of those "one of a kinds" as possible. Fully 63 CTC tractors were displayed, representing 18 states and two Canadian provinces.
"It's just a great cross section of equipment," said Don Huber, Shawnee Mission, Kan. "Usually at a show, you see 15 of the same model of one tractor."
Virtually a show within a show, the CTC Reunion offered not only a display of unique tractors, but also restoration clinics, a 90-minute parade of the calendar tractors, souvenir postal cancellation and belt buckles, display of flags from exhibitors' home states/provinces, and displays of handbuilt replica models and photographs of every tractor ever featured on a Classic Tractor Calendar. It concluded with a banquet Saturday night attended by more than 160 collectors.
In the afterglow of a successful first-time event, questions about an encore performance are inevitable. John Harvey and co-organizer Lee Schmidt are as coy as candidates running for office. But both admit that another reunion is a strong possibility.
"There was such a positive response," John said. "Certainly it would be fun to do again ... we've talked about a 15-year reunion. Trailering those tractors half-way across the country – that's a tremendous expense for those collectors. But obviously they think it's worth it. Somewhere down the road, we probably will get together again." FC
For more information: Missouri River Valley Steam Engine Association, Dennis Ficken, (660)882-8463; online at www.mrvsea.com.
Classic Farm Traction Calender, John Harvey, Box 437, Rockland, DE 1973; 1-800-888-8979; online at www.classictractors.com.