Tractor and farm toy show draws crowd

Two antique Case tractors sit on display Saturday afternoon at the Show-Me State Antique Tractor and Farm Toy Show at Apple Creek Farm near Centertown, Mo.

Two antique Case tractors sit on display Saturday afternoon at the Show-Me State Antique Tractor and Farm Toy Show at Apple Creek Farm near Centertown, Mo. Photo by Kile Brewer.

At the Show-Me Tractor and Farm Toy Show held Saturday, the weather did more than merely cooperate. The blue skies, balmy air, and budding trees were glorious.

“We call this Chamber of Commerce weather,” said Reid Millard, a coordinator of the event.

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Those attending the Show-Me State Antique Tractor and Farm Toy Show share kettle corn and dancing during a live bluegrass act Saturday afternoon at Apple Creek Farm near Centertown, Mo.

Held for the first time this spring at Apple Creek Farm on Old Murphy Ford Road near Jefferson City, Millard said organizers didn’t keep count of how many attended the event. But he was pleased at the turnout, nonetheless.

“We were hoping for at least 20 tractors and we had 40 or more arrive,” he said.

Millard said he organized the event as a fundraiser for Jefferson City High School’s Future Farmers of America chapter. Students raised money by selling barbecue and country ham sandwiches.

Although the tractor event featured live music and a quilt show, it was mainly a chance for older farmers to reminisce about the machines they grew up with.

“It gives everyone a chance to see, over the winter, how they’ve fixed up and painted their tractors,” said Rodney Garnett, a former John Deere dealer.

Garnett displayed his 1948 Ferguson and an antique snow blade. For Garnett, knowing the history behind the tractor — who built it, and why — is as fun as puttering in his shop.

He said the man who designed his tractor, Harry Ferguson, also invented the three-point hitch, which increases the downward force on a tractor’s rear wheels and thus boosts the traction available to use. Ferguson is also known for making a hand-shake agreement with Henry Ford to team up to build farm machines together.

“They were both geniuses,” Garnett said.

Garnett said his blade — known as a “terracing machine” because of its ability to sculpt terraces into land — was also notable.

“The reason I got interested is because the man who designed it, George Carrington, is from Fulton,” Garnett explained.

During the war years, Carrington was limited to manufacturing fewer than eight blades weekly. “But after the war, he became able to manufacture 800 to 1,000,” Garnett said.

People who enjoy collecting antique tractors often also enjoy collecting antique toy tractors.

On Saturday four vendors displayed their wares. John Thompson, a dealer based in Centertown, said when he was a kid he would race across a field at the chance to operate one.

“I’ve been around farming all my life,” Thompson said.

Although some of Thompson’s toys are meant for children, others are clearly meant to be collectible. One — a Precision Elite John Deere — was priced at $350. Other toys fell into the $20-30 range.

“I always say we have something here for every age,” he added.

The toys are likely to keep its value, or even increase in value, Thompson said.

“As long as you’ve got the box,” he said.

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