TEMPLE — Joshua Machicek doesn’t exactly fit the description of an antique tractor restoration expert. Slender, tall and soft-spoken, the 18-year-old is a freshman at West Texas A&M, and smiles easily, especially when recounting the trials and tribulations he encountered restoring a 1947 Minneapolis Moline.
Standing next to the pristine machine, which appears much the same as when it first rolled off the factory assembly line 66 years ago, Machinek proudly displays his notebook, which details each step, expense and hour devoted to the seven-month rebuild.
And this is only one of the hundreds of tractors, farm implements, antique engines and other miscellaneous mechanical marvels on display at the Texas Early Day Tractor & Engine Association’s 42nd annual State Show, which started Friday and ends today.
“It was a barn find,” Machicek said. “Tt was pretty worn out and it did run — but not right.” But patience, perseverance and persistence transformed the rusty hulk into a thing of agricultural beauty, and the factory-correct bright orange and yellow paint job drew a steady stream of admirers.
In addition to row upon row of gleaming tractors, the family-friendly event features tractor pull competitions, a children’s area, corn shelling exhibitions, a collection of old-time hit-or-miss engines, mammoth industrial engines, tractor-powered wood planer demonstrations, a row of big rigs and random curiosities: an unrestored 1950 Whizzer motorized bicycle and a 1950s-era city bus in tropical two-tone green, for example.
Appropriately attired in crisp blue overalls, Earl Madsen, treasurer of the association, said record attendance is expected this weekend.
“We’ve had 5,000 visitors in the past,” he said, “and we’re sure to exceed that number this year.”
The 48-acre site’s main parking area filled by 11 a.m. Saturday and the vast overflow area was already half filled by noon.
“This is our first year to have a corporate sponsor, and it’s been a big help,” Madsen said.
Don Ringler Chevrolet and Toyota provided funds for the nonprofit and admission prices have remained at $5 for adults with ages 12 and younger admitted free.
Roby Whitehead, from Killeen, has been a member of the tractor club for 26 years. “I bring the family every year. This year there are more people and more exhibits,” he said.
Whitehead owns Caterpillar and Case machines, “But I didn’t enter them this year, we just came to see everybody else’s stuff.”
“The homemade ice cream is amazing,” said Amy Lisenbe. She’s brought her two daughters and was hoping to hitch a ride on one of the show’s tractors for the big parade.
Barbecue, kettle corn, stone ground corn meal and local honey are for sale throughout the displays of machinery. An elementary-age playground, provided by Lone Star Structures, makes for a little-kid friendly nontractor fun area and has two bounce houses, swingset, slides and teeter-totter.
It’s time for the corn shelling demonstration and Madsen wipes the grease from his hands — the 73-year-old International Harvester contraption has broken down and he’s completed repairs in the nick of time. Arriving visitors in their cars and trucks continue to fill the parking field and he looks satisfied.
“We’ve got close to 50 acres,” he said, “and this year we’ll use every bit of it.”
If you go
What: Texas Early Day Tractor & Engine Association, 42nd annual State Show
Where: 1717 Eberhardt Road, Temple
Admission: Adults, $5; 12 and younger, free