Antique engine show draws thousands
White, 15-inch smoke rings shot 30 feet into the blue every half second Sunday from Bill Ramsden’s 45-horsepower Chicago pneumatic air compressor. The massive engine, built about 1915, was one of hundreds of operating antiques at the eighth-annual Antique Tractor Show off Stephanie Way in Minden.
Engines chugged, shimmied and puffed all over Ramsden’s property, shelling corn, pumping water and mulching yard debris in more than 300 exhibits. An estimated crowd of 3,000 walked through over Saturday and Sunday.
Andy Eason and his son Brian Lumis –Eboth of Sparks — were impressed by a working meat chopper and mixer built in the 1890s.
“I’ve talked to a lot of people and they say they’ve never seen anything like this meat chopper,” said the machine’s owner, Dennis Chaney of Dayton.
He refinished and painted the machine — powering it Sunday with a Fuller-Johnson two-horsepower engine.
An original ad for the chopper was posted nearby.
“Well, I declare, this is the boss chopper,” it read. “It saves the work of two men.”
Chaney also brought a hand ore crusher from an assay office in Virginia City.
His wife, Suzette, said tractor shows aren’t just for men.
“Women love it,” she said. “Everybody loves it. We’ve had 69 people so far return today after coming out yesterday.”
But there were plenty of big, tan men in denim overalls or John Deere suspenders talking shop Sunday.
Carson City’s Bob Harington showed off the 1923, seven-horsepower Economy engine he had running a corn sheller.
“It’s not a husker — husking is when you take the husk off — this is a sheller,” he said from under a big straw hat.
He fed a few dried cobs into the machine, it rattled, dropped hundreds of corn kernels into a bucket and spat out the naked cobs.
He also had the ’23 Economy’s predecessor — a 1911 Sparta Economy –Ewhich he used to power a grinder.
“Here you go, feed the birds,” he said, handing paper bags of ground corn to curious adults. Their children played with Harington’s hand water pumps and yellow rubber duckies.
Stan Goldin of Minden, rested against the 1918 Ford Model T Doctor’s Coupe he bought from a friend.
“When he got it it was holding up the roof of a shack that had collapsed around it,” he said. The car has wooden floor boards, wooden spokes and a wooden steering wheel. After getting rid of the car’s termite infestation, he got it running.
Over at the 300-foot tractor pull run announcer John Marsh watched antiques drag a sled with a weight that moves forward during the run.
“That’s what makes it hard to pull,” he said.
His wife Staci won her class driving a 1945 John Deere model D.
“I married into a tractor pulling family,” said March.
Two other ladies won their class: Larisa Salenik of Kernan, Calif., driving a Farmall and Gardnerville’s own Robin Borowick on her 1937 John Deere model A.
“They took it to the men,” laughed March.
Borowick gave credit to her 14-year-old son, Chris, for making her a tractor-pull champion.
The Carson Valley Sertoma Club kept the crowd fed.
“We’re selling hundreds of hamburgers and hundreds of cups of beer,” said Sertoma member Bill Broquist. “And water is a big mover.”
He said they were offering 1/3-pound sirloin burgers and hot dogs prepared with “a lot of tender loving care by 20 or 30 club members.”
Land owner and event organizer Bill Ramsden is a member of the Early Days Gas Engine & Tractor Association — called “Edge & Ta” by insiders. Members of the club took turns pulling “parking shuttle” wagons behind their antique tractors.