Addiction to tractors shows in annual show

Bill Ramsden doesn't try to hide his love of tractors.

He stands among his 50 tractors on his Carson Valley property wearing a belt buckle that reads, "Antique Gasoline Engine Collector," and a shirt with the words "Bill's Collectible Iron" printed on it.

"This is the worthless piece of junk that started the whole thing," he said, pointing to a rusted old tractor he and his wife, Dorine, acquired as a landscape decoration in 1989, their first tractor.

"But I just fell in love with that," said Dorine. "It was sitting there all cockeyed with three flat tires, just like it is now. I think it's beautiful."

After the first, Bill and Dorine haven't been able to stop buying tractors to add to their collection.

Six years ago the Ramsden's decided to go public with their addiction and sponsor a tractor show at their home. Every year since then the show seems to grow, if only because the Ramsden's collection keeps growing.

Bill estimated that his collection was worth $250,000 about two years ago. He hasn't done an estimate recently but knows it's worth more because he and his wife keep buying tractors and engines.

Bill and Dorine have been collecting antique tractors for the past seven years and have been sponsoring a tractor show at their home for the past six.

Antique tractor collecting, Bill said, is an international pastime. He said one year there were people from Japan and Australia who were in the area and decided to come to his show. Dorine is convinced that actor Tommy Lee Jones showed up at one of the shows a couple of years ago.

But the Ramsden's don't only collect tractors, they also own about 50 engines that will also be on display at this year's show. At one time, one engine ran a corn husker, another ran a butter churner.

They also own an antique fire engine that they use to give rides to children at their show.

Bill restores many of the engines and tractors that come his way and every piece of machinery has a story behind it.

Four years ago at the Ramsden's show a man started reading a sign Bill had posted on the history of one of his engines. The man recognized it as an engine he had owned years ago and was touched to see Bill remembered all the information about the engine.

"He had tears in his eyes. He was thrilled," Bill said.

Other collectors will also make a trip to the Ramsden's home to display their collections. Bill estimates that one year more than 250 tractors were displayed at his show and he expects 150, in addition to his collection, will be at this year's event.

The Ramsdens' yearly tractor show will be Aug. 11-12 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will include food, a parade, a tractor pull competition, a peddle race for children and a slow race - to see who can drive a tractor the slowest. Admission is $3. The show is at the Ramsden's home, 2838 Heybourne Rd., off Stephanie Lane.


What: Antique Tractor Show

When: 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 11-12

Where: 2838 Heybourne Rd., off Stephanie Lane

Admission: $3


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