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Tractor show coming to Gardnerville

by Susan Ditz
Special to The R-C

The 40-acre Valley View Ranch in Gardnerville with its replica of a Western town opens to hundreds of visitors Aug. 20-21 for the 21st annual antique engine and tractor show.

Presented by the Northern Nevada Antique Power Club, it’s a weekend filled hands-on learning and good natured competition.

The exhibits and activities offer the chance to experience how tractors and machines operated in the last century and contributed to the growth of Nevada agriculture and the mining industry.

According to club President Mike Zets, the goal of this event is to bring history to life so people gain a better understanding of how tractors and other equipment are used in farming, ranching and mining as well as modernizing other industries such as construction. “It’s all part of an effort to pass on critical skills and expertise that are disappearing,” he said.

“The Corn Man, Marshall Brown, from Fallon has every corn grinding apparatus you can think of and is always a hit with his interactive demonstrations and explanations, especially with the kids,” said Ann Geary, owner of the Valley View Ranch and with her late husband Pat, the club’s former president. Together they collected antique farm tools, equipment, machinery and Nevada artifacts for 47 years and all, including her late husband’s extensive collection of restored John Deere equipment, are on display. “The Western village developed after our oldest daughter’s wedding and grew to a point where our ranch has become has a popular venue for special events, thanks also to our son Jason and daughter Beth who share our interests,” Geary said.

A highlight each day at the show are the tests of tractor strength. “The tractor pulls are a big draw with crowds cheering for the men and women driving their restored tractors and pulling a 12,000 pound sled along a specific a track,” says Charly Barron of Carson City, who will oversee the competition. “To qualify as an antique, a tractor must be from 1960 or older, and the engine can’t be more than 100 horsepower—you won’t see those new monster machines with jet engines!”

Tractor games follow the daily parade and are geared to be both educational and entertaining, according to Zets.

This year’s games will include a kid’s competition on small pedal tractors sponsored by the Douglas-Carson Farm Bureau. Kathy Ragsdale of Sun Valley said she gets a kick out of testing her tractor driving expertise on the balance platform, driving a tractor up on what looks like a teeter totter.

According to show organizer Suzanne Schneider, honoring and preserving the past and teaching next generations is why she and her husband Dave, whose family has been ranching here since 1858, have been actively involved in the show all 21 years.

“We believe children need to learn about agriculture in Nevada, about how tractors evolved and changed farming and ranching,” she says. Every exhibit is intended to demonstrate how all manner of machinery developed over the last 100 years.

As per tradition, the club is raffling a fully restored 1939 Allis Chalmers B tractor (or $1,200 cash in alternative). Tickets are $1. There is also a silent auction with an array of great prizes, including books, housewares and farm related gifts. Cost for the show is $5 for adults, children are free. Entrants receive a $2 off coupon good for use in the store for commemorative T-shirts, hats and buttons. The event is handicapped accessible, food and drinks are available for purchase. For more information, call Schneider at 546-3995 or Mike Zets 392-1301.