Antique tractors will be showcased during the Five State Fair on Aug. 3. There is no cost to those who want to meander through the display area and visit with tractor owners. For those wanting to show off their tractor, the entry fee is only $10 and can be paid on registration starting at 10 a.m. that day. Courtesy photo
By ELLY GRIMM
• Leader & Times
The antique tractor show is back for a second round (after a long absence) at this year’s Five State Fair.
The tractors will be on display Sunday, Aug. 3, between the activity center and the back of Road and Bridge department on Stadium Road. Registration will begin at 10 a.m. and is $10 to enter a piece of equipment.
Larry Phillips, a member of the Five State Fair board, said this year’s show has had far more advertising than last year’s event. There was a constriction of time with last year’s show that prevented it from being bigger.
“We’ve sent out flyers from here to northeast Colorado, Nebraska (the Platte River Valley Antique Tractor Association) down to the High Plains Antique Tractor Association in Dalhart, Texas ,and to Oklahoma City and the Oklahoma Antique Tractor Association, inviting people this year,” he said. “We’re really excited about it.”
The tractor display took a long break from being a part of the fair until last year’s fair, when Phillips said he was interested in being in charge of such a display.
“I was saying ‘you can’t have a county fair without having an antique tractor display,’” he said. “So they agreed and said ‘OK, go with it and see what you can do,’ so that’s how it got rebooted and we’re going to keep it up – it’s really unique to see those old machines and think about what the guys had to do to operate them and make a living working with them.”
Liberal’s own Keating Tractor and Equipment is expected to be a big participant, as they have agreed to bring out some of the newest and best and biggest tractors to put on display.
“Anyone looking for a brand new tractor might want to come out and look for one, they’ll probably give you a deal,” Phillips joked.
Liberal has its fair share of antique tractor owners, according to Phillips, but very few outlets to display them in the area. He added the board is hoping to generate entrants and interest from here in western Kansas, Oklahoma, the Texas panhandle, even southeast Colorado. While there is no set amount of entrants yet, Phillips said there are already more entrants committed to this year’s display than for last year’s.
“We’ve talked to people in the Kismet and Plains area who didn’t make it last year because of other commitments but we’re getting a lot more interest this year,” he said “Of course, last year, it was kind of a last minute deal when I was appointed to the fair board it was something I really wanted to get involved with. We didn’t have much time for last year’s fair so even though this is our second year, this is the first we’ve had a full year to plan and invite people and get ahead of the game a bit.”
Such a display should be considered an educational experience, especially for younger generations.
“It’s an educational experience for ‘city’ folks and even young kids who may be farmers who don’t quite realize what farmers were using back in the ’20s and ’30s or even older than that,” Phillips said. “And then, of course, the older generation that remembers having to use one of those pieces of equipment, it will bring back, maybe if not fond memories, but memories of having to be around that equipment – I had an older couple last year who said ‘when we first got married we had a tractor like that it saved us so much work’ because it was a rather scientific piece of technical equipment in its day.”
Phillips also added some encouragement for people to come out and see the display. He also said the board is encouraging anybody, who has an old engine that still runs, they are welcome to bring those and show them off, too.
“It’s free, bring the family out,” he said. “I just think it’s an education for the younger people, like I said and there will be people out there who can really talk about old tractors – a lot of these guys have rebuilt them by hand, fixed them up where they’re running like new and you would be surprised how many people get to talking about them.”
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