Sunday, June 12, 2016

Arkansas tractor show

I knew going in that the tractor show we were attending several miles south of Harrison, Arkansas, would be a small one.  I think we may have visited it back in the 90's, or else we attended a similar show.  The thing is, I wanted a road trip to Arkansas, so I used the tractor show as bait to lure Cliff into my scheme.  He was aware of this, of course.

We've been to some big shows, most notably the ones at  Rollag, Minnesota (I really want to see that one again) and Mt. Pleasant, Iowa.  We also have some pretty decent shows within a hundred miles of home.  So when I checked out the website of the Rusty Wheels Old Engine Club, I knew I was dealing with a lightweight group.

 This pretty much shows you all the tractors that were on display when we arrived.  There were others around the grounds, and several arrived as the day progressed, although they weren't put on display.  One thing different about the tractors in this show was that nobody was worried about making them look new, and some of them were solid rust.  Now, I'm used to seeing guys who want to keep a great old tractor that's always been stored in a shed just as it is, with the original paint and decals.  But some of these looked as though they were just dragged out of a fencerow.

For the opening ceremony, right after the flag was raised, the Pledge of Allegiance said, and a prayer was given, the president of the tractor club sponsoring this show was called to the microphone.  I was amazed to hear a woman's voice.
 Later I ran into the lady who was, indeed, the president of the club, running the general store on the grounds.  "I was sort of drafted," she told me when I asked if she was the president.  When I remarked that she and Hillary had something in common, she said, "Everybody mentions Hillary."  She almost said it with a sigh.

The club only has seventeen members, so every member needs to be a jack-of-all-trades during the show.  Judy had to close up the store when she left to do something else:  One time she had to run to town after fuel for the engines.

At the larger tractor shows I'm used to, when Cliff stops to watch an activity that seems to me about as exciting as watching paint dry, I'll go on to another location to find something of more interest.  This being a smaller show, there wasn't that much else to see.  So when Cliff stopped by a huge diesel engine some guys were attempting to start, I got comfortable on my cane-chair and watched alongside him.  

Cliff could tell you exactly what they were doing step-by-step, but it would probably bore most of my readers.  Once the men began trying to start it, a guy kept spraying ether on it, but that engine didn't even turn over.  Cliff tells me the problem was that the machine wasn't getting enough air.  He thought of things he'd try if it were him, but kept his mouth shut because, after all, these folks didn't know him.  He might be one of those know-it-alls who are always giving unwanted advice for all they'd know.

They walked around this thing and discussed the problem at length.  It was a warm day, and getting warmer, so they took it slow and easy.

Finally they went over to the huge air compressor that shot air underground to the engine and discovered that the old, rotten hoses which led to the tubes taking the air to the engine were leaking.  This led to a new confab or two.

Cliff tells me they had to destroy the metal fitting to which the hose was fastened, cut off the rotten end of the hose, and attach the relatively fresh end of the hose back where it had been connected before.  Unfortunately, they had destroyed that fitting and didn't have another, so they settled on attaching the hose with a hose clamp.  The original fitting had grooves that, when the hose was properly attached, prevented it from slipping off.  We are talking about a tremendous amount of compressed air here.  The guys put on a second hose clamp, had more discussion, and one said, "Well, we'll just keep everybody out of here until we get 'er started."

In other words, if that hose were to let go and somebody was standing nearby, he could be injured or killed.  This wasn't the safest option, but it was their only one if they wanted to get on with things; after all, the big engine was one of the stars of their show.

Then they went back to the engine.

Success is sweet!  

I learned a lot from this episode.  From now on, I'm going to stay with Cliff and watch the action, even though the "action" goes by pretty slowly.  I'm going to pay more attention to the human element of these places.

When Cliff comes in and reads this entry, he will probably find some errors.  He was very helpful in explaining how all this stuff works, right down to showing me what kind of fitting was needed for attaching the hose (TMI).  Because I know most of my readers are ladies who probably don't really want to know the details (like me), I have tried to keep things simple.  But don't be surprised if I end up having to change some details, because I MUST have Cliff's seal of approval.  He is my main proofreader.    

More about this tractor show in the next entry.

1 comment:


Looks fascinating. My husband is a technical guy, so I always have to hear about how things work. But between me and you, the human element is where I focus my attention. Glad you and Cliff had a wonderful time.