It’s about keeping a piece of Indiana’s farm history and heritage alive. That’s why people from across the Midwest are traveling to the Edinburgh area this upcoming weekend to share their passion for antique tractors.
“We always say, ‘step back in time with us’ because we like to step back in time and let everybody relive the past,” says Dwayne Hansford, president of the Johnson County Antique Machinery Association. The organization’s annual tractor show is June 16-19 at Johnson County Park not far from Camp Atterbury.
Dwayne says the tractors on display represent a time when farming was far more challenging.
“You [would] spend a lot more time in the seat of a tractor back in [those] days,” Dwayne says. “Now they can cover several hundred acres in a day’s time. You [were] lucky to cover 15 to 25 acres a day with old equipment. A lot of people do this hobby for that very reason because grandpa or dad had the passion and they’re trying to keep it alive.”
That’s exactly why Dwayne says he started collecting and restoring antique Farmall tractors and has around 45 in his collection originally built between 1919 and 1952.
“Well, [my] grandpa farmed with M Farmalls. He eventually got up to [an International] 1066, but he was all International Farmall, so I got cut my teeth driving an M Farmall hauling corn when I was 13 [or] 14 years old,” according to Dwayne. “That got me started collecting because I grew up on a Farmall.”
Dwayne says the tractors you’ll see at the show aren’t meant to be locked away at a museum.
“You know that’s part of the nice thing about our hobby is we get to get out and play with things like we used to farm with. We get to show off a little bit, we get to go to parades, we get to go to plow day and work them all day if we want to or sit around have a conversation like a big family reunion and be able to enjoy what we do,” he says.
But most of all, Dwayne says the antique tractors serve as a bridge to Indiana’s farming history and cultural heritage that connects his grandparents’ generation with future generations.
“We [have] grandkids coming along now so we’re trying to get them involved and just carry on the legacy a little longer. One of these days we can sit back under a shade tree and watch them play with them. That’s what’s all about too.”
Click BELOW to hear C.J. Miller’s radio news report on the upcoming Johnson County Antique Machinery Show and how it keeps Indiana’s farm history alive.