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Annual show features classic to new tractors

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Posted: Thursday, February 9, 2012 12:00 am

A variety of tractors will line the fields of Sahuaro Ranch Park for the 22nd Annual Winter Antique Tractor and Engine Show 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 11 and 12.

The show is presented by Arizona Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association (AEDGE&TA), which was founded in 1979.

Beginning with 13 founding members, the Arizona Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association is a non-profit organization that has grown to more than 450 memberships. Members of AEDGE&TA began holding tractor shows at their homes, which eventually outgrew the space available. Later, long-time member of AEDGE&TA, Larry Rovey, hosted a couple tractor shows in February1989 and 1990 on his Glendale farm, but Rovey said he and the existing members realized the event would require a larger all-weather site.

Rovey said, "I worked with the city council and staff to get the show moved into Historic Sahuaro Ranch for the February 1991 show. It has been held there uninterrupted every February since."

Over the years, Rovey has held positions on the board of directors and for most of the early years; he was chairman for the Sahuaro Ranch event.

"The Sahuaro Ranch site has been ideal for our event as the atmosphere of the historic buildings helps highlight the era of equipment we exhibit."

The Glendale Historical Society generally has the buildings open for tours during the event and continues to hold tours for future tractor shows.

The upcoming Antique Tractor and Engine Show will feature tractor pulls and a variety of displays. Some of the many activities include:

· Engine displays and demonstrations

· Plowing demonstrations

· Parade

· Tractor pull

· Crafters

· Club souvenir store

· Food vendors

· Blacksmith exhibition

· Children's activities

· Pedal tractor raffle

· Free historic home tours

· Hay rides

Rovey said, "Visitors to our event will be able to see approximately 200 antique and classic farm tractors, as well as the small gas engines and other equipment that was used in the early agricultural development of the Salt River Valley."

The items have been collected and restored by a wide cross-section of people. Members share a common interest in restoring engines, tractors, and related equipment from the turn of the century. This type of collecting and restoration has become increasingly popular in all parts of the country.

Many old pieces of farm equipment have been rescued from the junk piles and appear at the tractor and engine shows. Classic equipment is restored to its original condition.

"The rationale for collecting and restoring is as varied as the people that collect them." Rovey said, "Some have a particular attachment to certain items because a relative had owned or used it, and others are just intrigued by the simplicity and/or ingenuity of early equipment."

Antique tractors are pulled for percentage and some classics are pulled for exhibition.

Rovey said, "I have a particular goal in that, I would like to see historic equipment, particularly with Arizona heritage, preserved to help show and tell future generations the story of our forefathers that were the ones to develop the Valley and state we all live in and enjoy today."

A family-oriented organization, the Arizona Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association plans activities for all ages. The members hope to keep the heritage alive by passing the interest down to the younger generation. The events allow club members to show off their fine collections.

Cost for the event is $5 and ages 12 and under get in free. Sahuaro Ranch Park is at 9802 N. 59th Ave. For more information regarding the 22nd Annual Winter Tractor and Engine Show, call 623-435-3955. For more information on Sahuaro Ranch Park and upcoming events, call 623-930-4200, or visit www.glendaleaz.com.

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