The Western Missouri Antique Tractor and Machinery Association is hosting its 45th Annual Show on June 23th, 24th and 25th at Frontier Village in Adrian. But how much do you know about where The Western Missouri Antique Tractor and Machinery Association originated from? Here is a little information.
In 1975 a small group of 6 men gathered together during the annual tractor pull, which was a fundraiser for the Adrian Optimist Club. These men put on a tiny show as part of the event using their vintage antique tractors. They gathered with six very old tractors brought back from being abandoned in fence rows decades earlier. Each one had been brought back to life for this special occasion where they had a special part of the “tractor pulling show” along with modern farm tractors.
The crowd had responded favorably with the little show that had included an old Wallis, an F20 Farmall, a G John Deere, a B John Deere, a GP John Deere. After the event, there seemed to be an immediate growing interest in antique farm equipment.
In late 1975, Calvin Field and Don Arndt started talking about forming a “club” of old farm equipment owners. A gathering of about 20 men met at the George Sollars Farm under a shade tree where it was unanimously decided to proceed with the formation of the club. A board of 6 men, being led by Don Arndt President and Calvin Field serving as Treasurer and Secretary were elected.
Appropriately, the group was formed sitting on buckets, tree stumps, and baled hay at the end of a wheat field sitting next to a 1930 tractor.
By the 1976 Bicentennial Celebration, several pieces of antique farm equipment had been brought back to life by these individuals. The little group made a great showing for the 200th Year Anniversary of the Nation.
The club had grown rapidly; Within a couple of years it had grown to a size that it was decided to incorporate it as a not for profit, and it also decided to have a “show” at the Adrian City Park featuring their old equipment – which many had restored to their original beauty. Threshing machines, sawmills, grain mills, plows, and every kind of farm machine was included.
In late July 1979, the newly formed Western Missouri Antique Tractor and Machinery Association, Inc. held their first three day show, and it was deemed a huge success.
In late 1981, discussions with the City of Adrian began concerning the use of the abandoned acreage on the East edge of the town. In September of 1982, an agreement was made, and the Western Missouri Antique Tractor and Machinery Association, Inc.’s annual event was moved to the present day show grounds.
The grounds were reclaimed from buck brush, shrubs, trees and being a dumping ground for years. Members cleaned it up, plowed the entire acreage, disked it, and seeded it all. The grass wasn’t up yet when the first building restoration project began with a big project. The Mount Vernon School was moved from several miles west of Passaic to the grounds. Being totally restored to the original condition the old one-room school was only the beginning of many huge projects the young group would undertake in the next few years. At least one new building project was completed every year from log cabins to reconstructing store buildings from area small towns and communities.
The huge 1983 Western Missouri Antique Tractor and Machinery Association, Inc.’s show was held on the new grounds as a record-breaking crowed enjoyed the 5th Annual event. By the late 80’s crowds were numbering from 10,000 to nearly 15,000 visitors – all of which were looking and watching in awe at hundreds of restored vintage equipment operating as they had so many years before.
Membership grew to over 200 in the 1980’s, and the building continues today while the group holds four major events annually.
The 2022 Western Missouri Antique Tractor and Machinery Presents the 44th Annual 3-day Steam and Gas Engine show June 23rd, 24th and 25th , at the Historic Frontier Village, located on the Southeast Corner of Interstate 49 and Highway 18 in Adrian.
*The Western Missouri Antique Tractor and Machinery Association historical information is courtesy of Don Arndt.
*The story is courtesy of the Adrian News Leader