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Tractor show draws restorers

March 09, 2005|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

HALFWAY - Looking at David Lowry's collection of antique tractors was akin to looking at a fish out of water as his gray 1940 Ford shined in the mall lighting with a Hot Topic store and all of its teen-rock apparel in the background.

The Washington County Antique Tractor Club is holding its 6th Annual Spring Show at Valley Mall this week. The items, compiled by the club's 92-family membership and including antique tractors, garden/lawn tractors and farm tools, are on display throughout the mall, said President David Lowry.

Lowry said the club, which includes members from outside the Washington County, was created to preserve rural heritage. The club also raises money for an annual college scholarship, he said.

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Along with the displays, the show will include a rope-making demonstration Friday and a children's Pedal Pull competition Saturday.

Although Tuesday's attendance at displays was sparse, it gave club members the chance to catch up and poke fun at one another.

Charles Robertson, of Falling Waters, W.Va., said he enjoys restoring the tractors and taking them to events because of the camaraderie and because it is something the "old guys," like himself, can do competitively.

"I'm an ex-motorcycle racer. Now I'm old, so I'm on a lawn mower," Robertson said.

"That's because he can't stay on the two-wheelers anymore," said Lowry.

Robertson said he got involved in restoring antique tractors about four years ago after seeing a competition in Jefferson County, W.Va. He said he had a tractor ready for competition in two weeks.

Todd Hammond, of Falling Waters, W.Va., is also a former drag racer, who said he became active in the club because of the family-oriented fun it provides.

"It's a lot more laid back than a lot of other sports," he said.

Lowry said most of the families involved in the club and the show at the mall have, like him, a family background in farming. Lowry said he worked a farm with his father for about 20 years, until 1986, and had an interest in the equipment since his childhood.

Lowry said restoring a tractor the right way takes a lot of effort and often, 300 or 400 hours.

"You have to take everything apart, clean it and sometimes replace the engine," he said. "It takes a lot of manual labor, but it's an activity the whole family can get involved in."

The tractor club's 6th Annual Spring Show will be held through Sunday at the Valley Mall. The club's Web site is at wcatc.org.

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