5725 Belleview Road Petersburg, Kentucky 41080
Antique construction equipment enthusiasts came from far and near to attend the Historical Construction Equipment Association's 9th annual convention and 3rd outdoor equipment show September 23-25 in Petersburg, Kentucky.
The event was held along the banks of the Ohio River at Belleview Sand and Gravel, Inc., owned and operated by Bill Rudicill. He and his brother Jim Rudicill were convention co-chairmen, and they greeted guests from as far away as New Zealand and as near as next door. Nearly 5,000 people from 30 states and six different countries enjoyed displays, equipment, and hospitality, not to mention a picturesque view of scenery and machinery.
The old-iron Paradise offered more than 144 pieces of old and unusual equipment for visitors to study and some even to operate. Equipment exhibitors actually shared their 'toys' and allowed other antique equipment operators to play in the sand. Consequently, the convention site was affectionately referred to during the show as the sand box.
Show co-hosts Jim and Bill Rudicill discuss plans in front of Bill's 1929 Bucyrus-Erie 50-B steam shovel.
The HCEA Easy Diggin' Chapter of Mt. Hope, New Jersey, was well represented with Gary Mahan of Basking Ridge, New Jersey, and Bill Amaducci of Martin Lakes, New Jersey, hauling in two tractor trailer loads of antique equipment. One of the most unusual items operating was Gary Martin's 1922 Linn track truck, while Bill Amaducci pushed dirt all weekend with his TD6 International bulldozer. The HCEA's 1926 K-2 Link-Belt 'Big Bertha,' restored by the Maumee Valley Chapter, was a wonderful addition as a working attraction at the show. Tom Pierce of Blissfield, Michigan, also brought in several pieces from the Maumee Valley Chapter on his restored B-613 Mack tractor. A tractor trailer load even arrived a few days early as Dennis Payne of Shandon, Ohio, hauled in his fleet of brightly painted orange equipment, including a 1938 Allis-Chalmers M bulldozer with a Baker blade and a rare 1931 LeBlond Schact dump truck built in Cincinnati, Ohio. Harold Hafner of Cincinnati also displayed a LeBlond Schact truck, an AB Mack truck and a Bucyrus-Erie 15B shovel. Employees of the Bucyrus-Erie Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, attended the show and were very interested in Bill Rudicill's Bucyrus-Erie collection. His most intriguing piece is his 1929 BE 50-B steam shovel which greeted visitors as they entered the show site.
Many local antique engine, farm and construction equipment lovers not only exhibited their treasures but were very active in planning the event, including Rev. Steve Alford of Burling, Kentucky, who displayed his Farmall F Series tractor collection and also held a riverside Sunday morning worship service for convention goers. Completing the Farmall collection was a rare steel-wheeled F-20 owned by August Trapp of Rabbit Hash, Kentucky.
For those who enjoy real horsepower, Harley Chandler and his team of horses from Petersburg, Kentucky, graded with his JD Adams No. 3 Road Patrol horse drawn grader. In contrast the Holt Company of Ohio, a major sponsor of the events, displayed a Caterpillar Challenger 75 and other new Caterpillar machinery. John Young and Linda Meier of Holt made special efforts to ensure that the 1994 convention was a success. Not only did they bring exhibits but the Holt Company of Ohio provided the tents both for the smaller scale construction displays, dealers and the banquet tent.
There was something for everyone inside the tent! Everything from the watch fob collection of Al Fleeger, from Butler, Pennsylvania, to an elaborate antique equipment slide show, and sketches contributed by Walt Urch and Mike Haskins of Benton Harbor, Michigan. The HCEA's booth offered historical equipment information, sold commemorative belt buckles and the official show model, the Ertl Caterpillar 2-ton. John Hubble of Peoria, Illinois, operated his 400W Bucyrus-Erie scale model while Al DiCiero of Pottsville, Pennsylvania, displayed and operated his working models outside of the tent. Another outdoor toy exhibit owned by Marvin and Evelyn Comer of Baltimore, Maryland, marketed many tractor and truck models. There was such an array of dealers, exhibitors, collectors and equipment information that spectators could spend a day just browsing memorabilia.
Saturday evening the HCEA buffet drew more than 300 equipment enthusiasts to fellowship together. There were three different speakers, including Ralph Jennings of the Holt Company of Ohio, Lynn Landburg of Construction Equipment and Danny Smith of the ESCO Corporation of Covington, Kentucky. The ESCO Corporation was very supportive of the HCEA show. They offered informative tours of their bucket plant to all convention attendees on Friday providing refreshments and safety equipment for everyone. The grand finale Saturday was the auction in which announcer John Smith of Hebron, Kentucky, auctioned a gold 1994 HCEA commemorative belt buckle. That event in itself suggested the funloving atmosphere of the 1994 HCEA convention, plus the many unmentioned authentic pieces of equipment, exhibitors, operators and spectators were what truly made the 1994 HCEA 9th annual convention and 3rd outdoor equipment show.
Look for details regarding next year's show which will be held in Bowling Green, Ohio, hosted by the Maumee Valley chapter. It is sure to be a great success as membership in the Historical Construction Equipment Association continues to grow. For membership information contact the HCEA, P.O. Box 328, Grand Rapids, Ohio 43522.