The Rock House Ruritan Club took its surrounding community back in time on Saturday, giving residents and visitors a glimpse into what life was like for previous generations.
The occasion was the club’s 22nd annual Todd Gordon Memorial Antique Tractor, Auto, Engine and Farm Equipment Show held at the Rock House Ruritan Building.
Organizers were delighted with the approximately 30 tractors on display along with an assortment of classic farm and work engines and equipment. A good turnout was also enjoyed as morning clouds quickly gave way to sunshine,
“This is probably our biggest show ever,” noted Don Bennett, a primary organizer of the day. “We’ve had a lot of people come in from out of town and it’s been a good turnout and a good fundraiser. This helps us help the people in our community that need it.”
Tractors and machinery from throughout northwestern North Carolina and southwestern Virginia were on display throughout the morning and early afternoon. In addition to the assortment of tractors, including some rare and antique models, highlights included several “hit-and-miss” engines and a collection of horse-drawn farm equipment totaling over 75 pieces.
A particularly eye-catching display was a massive 20 H.P. engine weighing an estimated 6,000 pounds being displayed by Ed Smith of Rural Hall. According to Smith’s son, 12-year-old Chase Smith, the oil-filled engine was built in the 1920s, came from Oklahoma and had been used to pump oil.
A popular feature among children and families was a life-size stage coach built by Bennett. The display replicated a stage coach used in the area almost 150 years ago. Bennett used the book by local author Carolyn Boyles, “Early Days of Pilot Mountain-A History and Genealogy,” to research area stage travel in the late 1900’s. According to Bennett, the stage line from Winston-Salem to Wytheville, VA, ran through Pilot Mountain, stopping at what was then the Marion Hotel. The stage’s route followed Old Hollow Road, now Old US Highway 52. The line lasted some 16 years, ending with the advent of the rail line through Pilot Mountain.
A pedal-powered “Kiddie Tractor Pull” was sponsored by Mount Airy Equipment Company. First place in the 40-pound category went to Della Mitchell. Cam Shoe claimed first place at 60 pounds while Emilynn Haymore took home the first place ribbon for the 80-pound group.
Also popular with youngsters was a children’s train provided by Pinnacle resident Hal Rosenquist. Other activities included a yard sale, a hay ride, a tractor parade and food concessions.
Funds were raised from the sale of concessions and through a $1,000 cash give-away. The winning ticket was purchased by Kenny Wayne White of Pinnacle.
Each person entering a tractor for display was entered into a second cash drawing, with three prizes totaling $100. Sponsored by Stokes Realty and Auction, the first-place ticketholder, Kiser Sherril, took home $50. Second and third place winners, receiving $30 and $20 respectively, were Amy Gordon and Jimmie Moore.
“I’ve been coming to this show for several years,” noted Moore, a Rural Hall resident. “This is the largest one I’ve seen. These folks have worked hard to put this together.”
“It has gone well,” Brent Bennett, a club member and another primary organizer said. “Everything went smoothly and it was a successful day. We’re looking forward to doing it again next year.”