Antique Tractors on Display

Eight antique tractors were featured in the Antique Tractor Show on Saturday. The tractors — which were also in the SummerFest parade — were lined up in front of Skip Baughman Stadium on South Street.
Staff Writer

From their spot on South Street Saturday afternoon to rolling down Spring Street in the parade, a variety of antique tractors could be found in St. Marys. Some like them for the history and some like them for the sound but whatever the reason, antique tractors have their place in SummerFest. 

Local tractor owners were well represented at this year’s antique tractor show with three 1948 Allis Chalmers from Dan Shenking; a late 1940’s Massy Harris Model 20, and a 1950 John Deere MT from David Craft and one 1954 John Deere 50 from Paul Waesch — all from St. Marys.

“I’ve only had the Massy for about a month and the MT I’ve had for about a year and a half,” Craft said. “So far, these two, I haven’t done anything to them. The John Deere may have been restored a few years ago but I haven’t done more than a little engine work on it.” 

But those two tractors are just the tip of the iceberg for the newly retired Craft. He stated he owns 13 antique tractors in all stages of repair. 

“Two of them are semifixed up but the rest of them need a lot of work,” he added. “I bought them all before I retired so now they’re my project.”

While Craft works to get his 13 tractors back to running order, Waesch said he has had is running for several years. He got his start in antique tractors when he got his John Deere from his uncle 15 years ago. In the years since, the tractor has been used several times.

“I had a field I would mow with a brush hog but when the field was switched to crops about four years ago, I quit farming with it,” Waesch said. “It’s just a show tractor now.

“I like driving it around, going on fun rides and doing shows like this.”

For Shenking, the process of acquiring his three tractors has taken him all across the country. One of his tractors is from St. Marys but the others were picked up from Seattle, Washington and Iowa.

“It was a hobby with my dad, Jack, when he was alive,” Shenking said of his interest in the tractors. “It’s just stuck with me ever since.”

Craft is hoping that with shows such as the one at SummerFest will help to create a new generation of tractor owners. 

With the antique pieces owned largely by the older population, he is concerned what will happen with the history — and sound — the tractors hold.

“It would be nice for some young people to take interest in them and keep these tractors around a little longer,” he said. “There’s just something about the sound an old John Deere makes. I really like that ‘put-put-put’ sound that they make.”