Tractors are a tradition
As they are in agriculture, tractors are an important part of the Warren County Fair.
They are used for work, leisure, and a loud combination of those.
Staff and volunteers rely on tractors to perform many tasks. Thanks to donations of equipment time by local businesses, tasks from mowing parking lots to dragging and rolling arenas can be done. “We wouldn’t be able to do it without them,” Warren County Fair Track Committee Chairman Jerry Jesperson said.
Just outside the Motorsports Arena is a collection of antique tractors. Ed Zimmerman of the Brokenstraw Antique Tractor Club was manning the tent among the 64 tractors built no more recently than 1960 on Tuesday.
Zimmerman doesn’t claim any particular expertise, but he’s “been around them for a long time.”
He pointed out the oldest tractor in the display, a John Deere D from 1929. Next oldest was an Oliver utility tractor from 1939.
Among the tractors featuring unusual appearances is a Case orchard tractor with long fenders that protect the driver from vines and trees.
Many of the tractors are a familiar bright green, but there are dozens of manufacturers among the group.
“It’s just a nice collection of older stuff,” Zimmerman said. “We like people to stop and look at them.”
Starting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday with the antiques, the Motorsports Arena will host tractor pulls for three consecutive nights.
“There’ll be at least 120 antiques built before 1960,” Jesperson said. “We’ll run two tracks.”
“There’ll be probably 20 different manufacturers of antique tractors,” he said.
The lawn and garden tractors will have the stage Thursday night starting at 7 p.m.
Then, at 8 p.m. Friday, the big machines will light up the night.
Fair Board member Steve Carr expects to fill the 7,000-seat arena Friday night. “Modified night it’s packed out here,” he said. “That’s a big night for us.”
The mini-modifieds put out 600 to 1,000 horsepower in tractors that weigh 1,850 pounds. “They have the highest power-to-weight ratios of any class,” Jesperson said. “The modified class will have up to four engines.”
In the past, tractors driven by turbines – jet engines – have joined the event. He was not sure if there will be any turbines this year.
“In every class we have, we’ll have people who’ve been national champion,” Jesperson said. “This track is rated one of the two best on the east coast.”
Jesperson and some of his senior volunteers keep the right amount of moisture in the track surface, Carr said. “They’ll start rolling it in and out and working all the clay together to get that consistency that they’re looking for.”