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Posted: Sep 19, 2009  14:41

Antique Tractor Club Draws Americana Fans


A Large Assortment Of Antique Tractors Were On Display At The Fair.

In existence for only a few months, the Antique Tractor Club is already drawing a great deal of enthusiasm from people who love the nostalgia of old time American farm tractors.

"We get together once a month, eat a meal, shoot the breeze about tractors, look at pictures and swap a lot of lies," laughed Ken Irons.

Some may not understand the fascination of antique tractors as a collectible piece of Americana but Ken explained that it is a fun hobby and many locals still have interest in tractors from their childhoods. He himself owns several antique tractors but his "baby" is a 1950 Co-Op E3 made in California. Ken related that Chet Baker had three models at his ranch in Porthill so Ken bought all of them. He now uses two of them for parts to fix up the other one. He commented that surprisingly there are a lot of antique tractors abandoned in fields around the county and that with some mechanical skill and a good paint job, they can be brought back into good working condition within a couple of months.

"It runs surprisingly well," Ken said fondly of his Co-Op E3. "The reason I have it is that my dad bought a brand new one in 1949. Co-Op was built by Cockshut Plow Company in California, which produced plows for years in addition to selling tractors. They built their own tractors in the mid 1960s then sold the company to Oliver Tractor."

Ken said that studying tractor history is a fascinating pastime.

"It's just very interesting, it really is," emphasized Ken. "You can waste a lot of time and effort just puttering with them but you really get decent results in the end."

The Antique Tractor Club has been busy in the few months it has been around. They held a "Tractor Ride" in Paradise Valley in which 12 tractors circumnavigated a seven mile area around Cow Creek. They also displayed many of the tractors, as well as a collection of antique tractor engines, at the fair and participated in the fair parade. In addition, they held a "tractor race" during the lawnmower races at the fair. The winner of the slow race is the driver of the tractor who crosses the finish line last.

"The enthusiasm of some of the people who have never even owned a tractor is totally amazing. Even if they can't fix it themselves, they just enjoy having one to putter around on. After all, they're cheaper than a 4-wheeler," Ken concluded with a laugh.

The Antique Tractor Club meets on the third Friday of every month at 6pm at Chic-N-Chop. Everyone who enjoys antique tractors is welcome to join the group.


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