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Tractor & Engine show offers peek into mechanical past

by Sandi Hoover
shoover@nevadaappeal.com

They call themselves “collectors of old rust,” but the 130 members of the Northern Nevada Antique Power Club believe it’s important to preserve relics from the past.

They showed their pride at the 15th annual Tractor & Engine Show this weekend at the Valley View Ranch in Gardnerville, said Suzanne Schneider, club treasurer and event organizer.

With about 200 tractors and 150 engines on display, along with a flea market and food provided by Sertoma.

This is the first year the event has been held at the Valley View Ranch, which offers a western village atmosphere with a school house, assay office, sheriff’s office, general store, blacksmith shop and more.

Schneider clearly remembers the day her husband Dave came home with a “rusty piece of junk” which was a 1941-A Farmall tractor.

“Once he fixed it up and painted it, it was like new. Then he bought a 1948 Model 40 John Deere,” she said. “To make a long story short, he now has 100 tractors and an old ag barn to put them in. You can’t just leave this beautiful stuff outside.”

Skeptical at first, Schneider now believes tractors are treasures.

“It’s a part of history. It’s educational. This year we won first place at the Carson Valley Parade in the antique tractor category,” she said.

They can sell for anywhere from $900 to $5,000, Schneider said, but very seldom does her husband ever sell one.

“I tell him I’m going to have a garage sale when he leaves town. That’s how I keep him home,” she said, laughing.

Among those showing their their engines were Rolf and Penny Heinrich of Sparks, with a 6-horsepower Fairbanks affectionately known as Gus, and a 2-horse Sattly.

“We bought one and got it running, and now we own 17,” said Rolf Heinrich.

“I guess it was curiosity that got me started because they’re so old and interesting.

Bill Williams, also of Sparks, said he is intrigued with engines because “they are part of our history.”

“How does that run? That’s what got me interested,” Williams said. “They’re a novelty now but they ran everything before electricity. They used to run power plants, machine shops, irrigation systems and oil refineries. A lot will run on diesel or kerosene.”

In previous years, the show has been held at Bill and Dorine Ramsden’s ranch on Stephanie Way in Minden. The Valley View Ranch, where this year’s show is going on is owned by Pat and Ann Geary.