Today's tractor is nothing like your grandpa's.
When asked what's the biggest difference between now and then regarding farm machinery, Chris Schmaltz replied, "The size!" President of F.A.R.M. (Farming and Antique Related Machinery) of Southeastern Indiana Club, Schmaltz says today's tractors are so much bigger and fancier. Today, he talks about operator ease and comfort, making the farmer's job a bit easier and tractors with hydraulic lifts not manual ones. "Some are nicer than your house!" he added. The big ones come with just as big price-tags. A new tractor with 200 horsepower will cost from $200,000 to $300,000. Years ago, a 20 or 50 horsepower tractor, which was a good size, would cost $4,000," noted Schmaltz, adding it's all relative--that was a lot of money back then too.
The antique machinery show is a history lesson and a memory for some. "It takes people back. They get a kick out of it. Visitors will say, 'I drove my grandpa's tractor and it looked just like that.' It brings back memories for the old-timers, the young and the young at heart.
Old tractors are just part of the attractions at the annual show at the fairgrounds in Osgood starting Thursday. There are also all types of antique machinery and steam engines. The club started in Dearborn County, but quickly spread to encompass those in several Southeastern IN counties. They have about 50 active members.
International Harvester will be featured, but several other tractor makes will be part of the 300-plus display. Over 5,000 people are expected to visit the fairgrounds this weekend. In addition, the club is hosting Indiana Chapter 7 of the National IH Collectors Club State Show.
The show has been offered for about 20 years, and held in various places, including Perfect North Slopes and the Dearborn County Fairgrounds, but relocated here six years ago. The club is proud to showcase the fairgrounds. "We've had many positive comments from all over the US. People rave about it in the letters and emails they send to us. They say we have nice buildings and that our walkways are excellent," Schmaltz said. The county has made many improvements over the years.
The grandstand holds about 800 people. Overall, they expect 5,000 people to attend at some point Thursday-Sunday.
Just about every square foot will be used at the fairgrounds, either for games and activities, the flea market, crafts, homemaker's demonstrations, food, vendors and displays.
The big draw will likely be the races. For the first time, they are offering a grandstand event on Thursday. KOI Racing will have truck/ATV drag races at 7 p.m. Schmaltz said they added it because of the response, and also because these racing type events have gone over well in Ripley County.
Returning to Osgood on Friday evening is go-kart racing. Saturday at 1 p.m. is the antique tractor pull, and at 7 p.m., truck and tractor pulling. Prize money, depending on number of entrants, could earn over $1,700.
Kids should be busy with activities, the displays, and more. There is a Kiddie Pedal pull for the kids who weigh less than 70 pounds on Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 6 p.m. to honor Dabby Whitham, a founding member who loved working with the children.
There will also be demonstrations, from log sawing and wheat thrashing, to corn shredding and stationery baling. Vendors will display antiques, toys, machine parts, books and more. The homemakers will have quilts and baked goods, and the Amish will have homemade ice cream with cobbler, to name a few of the goodies for sale. The "Tradin' Post" is also a show favorite. Items can be consigned for a small commission and people check back frequently to find the bargains.
Schmaltz said the F.A.R.M. club is a non-profit organization dedicated to the collection, exhibition, restoration and preservation of farming and antique equipment to retain its historical value. For more information, please check the website at www.farmclubonline.com or like the FARM Club of Southeastern IN page on Face Book.