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More than 300 attend farm toy show

November 21, 2009|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Harold and Larry Dorrier leaned toward the table examining an early 1970s Tru Scale combine.

"The lever is missing," Harold Dorrier said. "It must have broken off."

If the lever had been intact, the Hagerstown brothers concluded, it could have raised the ramp and conveyor belt that would have been used in harvesting corn.

Both Dorrier brothers grew up on a farm, but documenting the history of farm equipment through literature and farm toys became Harold's passion.

"It's a hobby," he said. "It got in my blood."

Harold Dorrier was among more than 35 vendors and displayers from as far away as New York, North Carolina and Delaware who took part in Tri-State Farm Toy Collector Club's annual Farm Toy Show Saturday at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center.

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Doug Artz, treasurer of the club, said many people -- though not all -- who collect farm toys and frequent the club's show grew on farms or have "a farm connection." Such was the case for Artz, who grew up and still lives on a small farm near Funkstown.

"I played with farm toys growing up on the farm," Artz said. "Even when I stopped playing, I kept buying them. And apparently, a lot of other people did, too."

Artz said more than 300 people visited the show Friday night and Saturday.

Jim and Patsy Smith, 77 and 75, of Martinsburg, W.Va., took their great-nephew, Jordi Smith, 6, to the event. Jim Smith said he grew up on a farm, then spent his adult life working as a school superintendent. But he still lives on a farm today.

"Since I retired, I started fooling with old toy tractors," he said. "I collect Tonka stuff, and I have antique farm tractors."

Smith said he told Jordi he could buy whatever he wanted at the show.

"Part of the purpose of this is to pass on part of what you have been interested in along the way," he said. "That's part of the fun."

Aden Meyers, 76, of St. Thomas, Pa., said the toys remind him of his father.

"My dad was a thrasher," he said. "He went all over the country thrashing grain."

Meyers said he has "a couple hundred" farm toys at home and he bought three more John Deere toys Saturday. He said farm toy collecting is a way of recording history.

"If we don't do it, nobody else will," he said. "It will die out."

Siblings Janessa and Devin Bishop, 9 and 7, of Hagerstown, were a sign that interest in farm equipment does have a future. The two asked their father, Ernie Bishop, 42, and his girlfriend, Cherie Michael, to take them to the pedal pull event at the Farm Toy Show.

In a child-scale version of a classic tractor pull, participants ages 5 to 10 rode modified pedal tractors. The tractors pull weighted sleds down a track, making them more difficult to pull. Artz said about 20 children participated. Janessa and Devin each took fourth place in their age groups.

"My sled popped off," Devin said. "No wonder I didn't feel no weight. I did a little wheelie."

"I loved it," Janessa said. "It's awesome."

Artz said proceeds from the Farm Toy Show are used to provide scholarships for local students.

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