By Lynne Phillips
It was a good day for the tractor show, according to F.A.R.M. (Firelands Area Restorers of Machines) President Paul Lortcher.
“We had a fairly good turnout,” he said adding, “it wasn’t quite as good as some years but it wasn’t bad.”
One of this year’s exhibitor’s Robert Searight, had his Kelly Duplex Mill #1 made by the Duplex Manufacturing Company in Springfield, Ohio on display.
Searight said he has had this particular machine for about ten years and takes it to numerous events each year. “I go as far as Lorain County.” He noted he would have attended the show in Ashland but his tractor was in the shop for repair.
Greenwich resident Lowell Kreager attended the show with his 1941 B-2 CO-OP. “They made them in Shelbyville, Indiana and in Dearborn, Michigan. Then later on Cockshutt started making them. They didn’t look alike but they were both CO-OPs,” he said.
His display tractor, he said, has a 6 cylinder engine. It wasn’t long after 1941 CO-OPs were no longer made, according to Kreager. “It was right before the second World War. Later when Cockshutt made them they were Cockshutts but were painted orange and put CO-OP on them.”
Kreager purchased his tractor from Larry Swander of North Fairfield in the late 1980s. The engine was stuck and had to be broken loose. I had it over to the school shop (Kreager was the vocational agriculture instructor at South Central High School) for most of the year.
Kreager recalled he had been the vo-ag instructor at South Central for 24 years, retiring from the position in 1994.
The bright red, CO-OP is just one of three tractors Kreager takes to display since he began showing them in about 2000.
“I also have a John Deere B and Case DC and two years ago I had all three at the show. The other tractors, he noted, have been taken to his home farm in Newark, Ohio where he has built a new machine shop. “I got them out of my garage," he said with a smile.
This year’s event, held at New London Recreation Park featured Cockshutt tractors and equipment as well as orphans and oddballs engines.
“We had 52 tractors and approximately 45 garden tractors on display,” Lortcher noted. Eleven of the Cub Cadet garden tractors belonged to Lortcher, who said he could have even brought a few more as he owns 15 of them.
Kicking off the event was the Tractor Parade. “We had more tractors in the parade than ever,” he stated.
The parade, escorted by the New London Police Department, began at the depot building in the park and proceeded from there down Grove Street to Main to the center of town and out to The Laurels of New London and back to the park. “The residents at The Laurels all turned out to watch and they just about waved their arms off,” Lortcher said. “They seemed to really enjoy it.”
In addition to the parade, Saturday’s activities included an all day flea market and craft show, exhibits and demonstrations, tractor games, a pie auction, Lime Village Pioneers and a parade of lights.
On Sunday, a church service was held, as was a Power Wheels Derby, a kiddie tractor pull and a raffle.
Wagon rides were provided by Gene Kurzen and his horses Mel and Barb.
The kiddie tractor pull is always a favorite with the children and this year was no different, according to Lortcher. “We had about 30 kids participating.” He added, “It is fun to watch them. They take it very seriously. Some of them are holding the steering wheel so tight and really working hard.
“The pie auction always goes well,” according to Lortcher, “and Andy Suvar has been the auctioneer since we moved the show to New London about four years ago. We appreciate his assistance with the event, the proceeds from the auction help to support show,”
Next year’s show, scheduled for July 22-23 at New London Recreation Park will feature Massey Harris tractors and equipment and Stover gas engines.