Farmers display antique equipment at wheat show
SHERRILLS FORD – Mules hee-hawed, steam engines throbbed and threshing machines clattered in a field of golden grain on Saturday, June 9, at what participants dubbed the Old Time Wheat Show.
The event, co-sponsored by the Foothills Antique Power Association and Bandy’s High School Future Farmers of America Alumni Organization, was held at organizer Floyd Sigmon’s farm and the wheat field across the road on Cypress Street in Sherrills Ford.
“The purpose of doing this is to educate people on what it was like to harvest wheat 75 or 100 years ago,” Sigmon said. “Back then it took 25 people two days to harvest 600 bushels of wheat. Now, with modern combines, one man can harvest that same amount in one hour.”
Nearly 20 different types of antique farm machinery were on hand as well as several teams of mules and horses to pull some of the older pieces. Tony Eagle brought his three-year-old mules to the show.
“I call them Red and Blue,” Eagle said. “But I call them other names when they don’t do right.”
Bruce Long, of Pumpkin Center, took to the wheat field with a team of draft horses and demonstrated a 1918 McCormick-Deering grain binder owned by Ned Story, of Buffalo Shoals.
“It was in a shed for 50 years,” Long said. “We had to cut down trees to get it out. Luckily, it had been coated with grease and was in great condition.”
Even older was the 12-ton, 1911 steam-powered engine that Andy Steward was using to run a wheat threshing machine. The engine is owned by Johnny Sigmon and was on display last year powering a sawmill at the Stumptown Tractor Club show in Denver.
“It can operate anything with a belt,” Sigmon said. “Or it can pull equipment like a road scraper or thrashing machine.”
Todd Heintz and his 8-year-old son Tanner, of Mount Pleasant, displayed a replica Case steam tractor they built at home. Watching the other machines cut and harvest wheat, Tanner seemed in awe of what life must have been like on the farm a century ago.
“It sure must have been a lot of hard work,” he said.
Overall, the Old Time Wheat Show gave participants and spectators a chance to soak up some sun and reflect on what it took to put food on the table back when the available technology needed wood or a bale of hay to boot up.