by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL
A beautiful Indian summer Saturday brought record attendance and participation at Rockford’s ACE Hardware Annual Antique Tractor Show.
Arriving in record numbers, 40+ antique tractor owners from near and far were on hand to show off their pride and joy throwbacks to an earlier day. Lovingly cared for and mechanically maintained, they were a joy to behold especially for aficionados of antique tractors, which are legion.
Rockford resident Chuck Newton, who has organized the local show for the past 15 years, was thrilled by the turnout and said, “This might well be the largest antique tractor show in Kent County. Pete Kruer has hosted this show since he moved ACE Hardware from downtown Rockford to his spacious grounds here on Northland Drive. Our group loves Pete, he takes good care of us just as he does of his own antique tractor and his famous red ’53 Chevy pick-up truck.”
These annual events are juried competitions where six winners are chosen in various categories. This year’s winners were as follows: Best in Show – Eldie Ellenbaas with his 1937 John Deere D, Most Original – Edwin Rounds with his Farmall 1954 Super C, Oldest Tractor – Todd Simcoe with his 1936 John Deere BI, Honorable Mention – Don Snow with his 1950 Allis Chalmers WD, Honorable Mention/Equipment – Carl Walston with his 1953 John Deere AR pulling a 1947 John Deere K-model manure spreader, and last but not least from Farthest Away – Randy Linton, from Edmore, with his 1942 Farmall BN.
All winners received plaques attesting to the care and longevity of their tractors and, oftentimes, of their very selves.
A great and wonderful time was had by all. Pete Kruer – oftentimes generous to a fault – treated every antique tractor owner/entrant (and family members if present) to a sit-down BBQ Chicken dinner complete with homemade potato salad, baked beans, and rolls along with an ice-cold Coke all supplied by Cannonsburg’s famous Grist Mill owned by Don Kurlowicz.
Others in attendance as spectators enjoyed free hot dogs, supplied by The Corner Bar, and sweet corn, supplied by Post Farms and steamed to perfection by the famous Dale Sonke himself! (The man never met a steam engine he didn’t love!)
“A special shout out of praise goes to Jennifer Rich, Chuck and Rose Newton, and family member Jim Tol, for all their help and support. Without them and our
suppliers, this show would not have been possible,” said Kruer, adding, “See you next year!”
And then he was off, leading a parade of antique tractors through the very heart of Rockford much to the delight of all who were in town that afternoon for the Rockford Historical Society’s silent and live auctions. Kind of goes together doesn’t it…antique tractors and the RAM.