GREENVILLE – “The guy lost his mind building this,” said Noel “Bud” Carpenter about his tractor train, built from various antique tractor pieces in 2007. He laughed then talked about some of the units, ranging from a water tank still painted in its original army colors to a small wagon and a two-wheeler looking somewhat like a chariot. They all rode on steel wheels, like many of their full-size ancestors.
“No flat tires on these things,” he added. “Want me to take it for a spin?” He called out to some kids and their dad – Steve Truster and children Emma, Andrew and Logan – were happy to oblige, climbing in and riding around as Carpenter did a couple figure eights. It was difficult to tell who was having the most fun, the passengers or the driver.
Carpenter’s train was just one of the many displays, events and demonstrations at the 15th annual Greenville Farm Power of the Past July 10-13. According to Rick Brewer, they’ve had good crowds. As of Friday evening there were 294 vintage tractors, 207 vintage Lawn & Garden tractors and 274 campers. He added he saw at least another 15 lawn and garden tractors come in that morning.
Von Oswalt, president, said they had good crowds but “The First Friday hurt us. Attendance was not what we expected last night… usually that’s when parents bring their kids here. Last night they were downtown.”
Friday attendance didn’t hurt too much as tractors were “up,” garden tractors were “way up” and their official estimate was 10-12,000 visitors over the weekend, an increase over the year before.
“Our mission is to keep the methods of the past alive,” Oswalt said. “It’s fun to watch the people come through the tractor area… grandpa had one… dad had one…” He added a lot of people learned to drive on these tractors. He noted the ‘garden boys’ will keep growing down the road, as the families using the old tractors decrease in number. “Over time we’ll keep featuring the ‘oddball’ (antique) tractors,” he added.
Just a few of the events included the threshing demonstration, truck and tractor pulls, antique tractor pull, kiddie tractor pull, car show and cruise in and more.
Bud Carpenter took kids Emma, Andrew and Logan, and dad Steve Truster, on a ride in his antique tractor train.