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Coffee County Fair adds antique tractor parade and show

Posted on Wednesday, September 26, 2012 at 1:07 pm

For the first time that organizers can remember, the Coffee County Fair featured an antique tractor parade and show.

Saturday, the parade, featuring tractors built in 1965 or earlier, started from Coffee County Middle School, wound around the square, before traveling down jail hill to reconnect with the Hillsboro Highway and continued to the fairgrounds.

Organizer J. Dwight Bryan said that he help put the event together to help renew interest in the fair.

“We saw there was something missing with the fair,” he said.

“We don’t have the fair that some counties do, but that doesn’t mean we can’t.”

Bryan said that this year’s turnout for the parade wasn’t as high as expected.

“But we’re going to build it up,” he said.“We’re really proud of the ones we have out here. There are some really nice tractors.”

To show off the machines that have been lovingly restored is only natural.

“I just like bringing the old back to life again,” said Joe Rooker Jr., of Beech Groove, who drove a bright red 1949 Farmall, his first restoration job.

“You got to love to do it,” he said.

When Rooker bought the Farmall for $400, it was about five or six different colors.

The first task was to get the tractor, which he uses in the field, mechanically sound. Then Rooker began to focus on aesthetics . The process took months of sneaking off to the shop to work on it.

“The wife [Tammy] knows I’m down at the shop.

It’s a work that’s a labor of love.

“I hate to see them go to the junkyard.”

He said that he prefers to use the older tractors in the field.

Jeff Tomes, of Manchester, drove his wife’s 1957 Massey Harris tractor.

“It was just a big pile of rust when I got it. It took about a year. We stripped it all down and redid it.”

Tomes also entered a Ford that belongs to his daughter, Brittany Cole.

Tomes enjoys working on all brands of tractors.

For Marlon Vaughn, of Manchester, who entered two restored Allis Chalmers, brand is very important.

“There’s only two colors of tractors,” he said. “There’s Allie, and there’s ugly.”

The parade was open to all brands, restored or not.

“Bring them out of the field or whatever that’s all right,” Bryan said.

A parade is in the works for next year’s fair.