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Antique tractor demo makes way to Alpena

August 9, 2012
Jordan Travis - News Staff Writer , The Alpena News

ALPENA - A show featuring antique tractors and other vintage machinery starts today in Northwest Alpena Township.

The 29th Annual Alpena Antique Tractor & Steam Engine Show starts today and runs through Sunday, Nathan Wodja said. The Antique Tractor Club's president said today's events include demonstrations using old-fashioned, tractor-driven equipment and the first of the show's daily parades at 2:30 p.m. Parades on the following days take place at the same time.

"We'll have pretty much all the exhibits going" today, he said. "We've got a saw mill, steam engines, we'll be threshing grain if the weather holds."

Other exhibits include a shingle mill, rock crushing, hay baling and blacksmithing, according to the show schedule.

The show grounds are located at 6830 French Road, near the Naylor Road intersection in Alpena Township. Gates open at 9 a.m. each day.

Today is also Senior Day, where anyone aged 60 and older gets in for $2, Wodja said. Regular admission is $5 today through Sunday. Exhibitors and children under age 12 get in free.

All throughout the show, spectators will get to see tractors, steam engines and early gasoline engines in action, Wodja said. It's a big part of collecting the old machinery for many involved with the hobby.

"These guys like to work their machinery," he said.

On Friday and Saturday, musical group Phoenix will perform from 7-11 p.m., Wodja said.

Saturday's special activities kick off at noon with a chicken dinner, and bean soup at 6 p.m., Wodja said.

Sunday starts at 9 a.m. with a pancake breakfast, which continues until noon, Wodja said. The Sunrise Side Model A Ford club members will display their classic cars from 1-4 p.m.

At 11 a.m. Sunday, spectators will get to see a different kind of tractor in action: lawn tractors. The Alpena Cycle Club will hold its Lawn Tractor Pull, featuring everything from vintage lawn mowers to newer machines with outlandishly large engines, Rose Standen, Cycle Club secretary, said.

Primitive camping also is available for $10 per day, plus the cost of admission, according to the show schedule. Camping is first-come, first-serve.

The show will feature many different tractors from the early days of mechanized farm power, including a kerosene-powered Aultman-Taylor 30-60 tractor from 1913. This massive machine is one of six left in working order of the same model and year, Wodja said.

Jeff Vigue, who lives near Dexter for most of the year, owns the tractor, he said. He bought it from a man in Ohio in 2004, and restored it over two years starting in 2006.

"The previous two owners had started to take things apart, so when I bought it, it was on pallets, basically," he said. "Not having one to look at, it was kind of a challenge to figure out if all the parts were there."

The Aultman-Taylor's rear wheel is 7 1/2 feet in diameter, Vigue said, and its boxy radiator in front is a feature found on earlier models. The draft-induced radiator proved to be less than effective, and was replaced by a cylindrical, boiler-type radiator on later tractors.

Vigue's tractor will make its first appearance at the show this year, he said. He's been a member for several years, and tries to bring something different to every show.

"It helps the show," he said. "People like to see something different."

Anyone who wants to participate need not call ahead, Wodja said.

"Just come on out," he said. "No advance notice is required. Just bring your tractor on a trailer and come on in."

The Lawn Tractor Pull is also open to entries, Wodja said. Anyone interested in joining can sign up on Sunday, or call Alfred Standen at 379-3067.

Jordan Travis can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5688.



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