Saturday, January 31, 2009

It's almost February!

Where did January go? Mine was spent on record keeping, planning and keeping this house warm! I wrote several articles on those subjects.

February is Ground Hog Day, Valentine's Day, the National Farm Machinery Show and the Conservation Tillage Conference in Ada for some of us in Ohio. It is also the start of Lent this year, the major religious event of the religious year.

I still remember my first farm machinery show. My roomate Bernie at Ohio State, I think it was 1969 said they are having a tractor pull in Freedom Hall! We were burned out studying and wanted a taste of summer so we loaded up my Chevy and headed for Louisville, Kentucky.

That was one of the first indoor pulls and there was no such thing as smoke removers yet. I will never forget the MM U some guy from the midwest had, stripped down so much for the 5,000 pound class he used vice grips to steer the thing! That was overkill of course for weight but sure made for an interesting show.

I remember the big diesels out of Illinois in the heavy class opening the throttle with a huge plume of smoke and then the driver disappeared. We breathed all that carbon and diesel of course and came out with oily faces and black in our nostrils.

Wasn't many years before they built a smoke catcher that sucked the black smoke out of the exhaust pipe into the ceiling and a huge fan blew it out into the atmoshpere. Now we watch the big tube snake behind the sled while the puller tries to conquer the sled running wide open down the track.

The National Farm Machinery Show became the winter standard for midwest farmers to get away in winter and look at new machinery, talk to company rep's and dealers all day then watch the pulls at night. Makes for a very long, tiring but enjoyable week and weekend for thousands of fans!

I remember the 560 alchohol powered Farmall that stood straight up, over-turned smashed the driver into the track. The guy had a near-death experience but was revived and never came back to the show. I remember Bob Bussey's hot 88 screaming down the track with the new North Carolina owner, got a real bad wheel hop and split into three pieces on the track. The rear end, belly and engine and front end separated.

I remember the year all the Farmall guys figured out how to get more weight on the front end of the their tractors by taking off the heavy cast iron rear end cover and replacing it with steel or aluminum. Trouble was that left the gears unprotected from rear end vibration and they hauled off every puller with all kinds of rear end problems and grease all over the track.

Don Nolan won the heavy weight class for years with his G-1000 MM running on gasoline instead of alcohol because injection wasn't perfected yet. Dave Stangle proved that by blowing parts all over the track many times with his Solid Junk G-1000 MM trying to carburate alcholol inside a building. That was the Harriott-Perry tractor of Perry pulling transmission fame today.

That is some of my quick memories of the National Farm Machinery Show.

Have any you would like to share?

Stay warm,

Ed Winkle

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