Tiny tractors add interest to annual farm equipment show in East Huntingdon
Activities on the last day of Sunday’s annual Hammer-In and Plow Days in East Huntingdon were curtailed as sporadic thunderstorms moved through the area.
Tractors and other machinery assembled for the event by the Fort Allen Antique Farm Equipment Association mostly remained quiet after plowing and parade the day before.
Visitors who braved the soggy conditions still had plenty to hold their attention, including dozens of model tractors and implements on display by ex-farmers and Unity neighbors David Ludvik and Daryl Weaver.
Ludvik has amassed over 800 tractor models designed as replicas of those sold by various manufacturers. But the green John Deere tractors are his favorite, both the full-size ones and the static 16th-scale versions.
“I just love driving John Deere tractors,” he said. “I always thought it was a good, comfortable tractor.”
Although Ludvik has transitioned from farming to a paving business, collecting model tractors keeps him connected to his farming heritage.
“I’ve always loved farming,” he says. “It’s in your blood.”
One of his latest acquisitions is a model of a large articulated tractor that runs on tracks instead of tires – a throwback to early tractors but with high-tech controls.
“It’s mostly for a smoother ride and less soil compaction,” Ludvik said of the tractor, noting that he was content to own the miniature version. “I couldn’t race the real thing if I had it,” he said. “Everything is computer controlled.”
Weaver collects his family’s favorite Allis-Chalmers orange tractor models, four of which remain on the farm. Among his more interesting designs is a pre-1939 tractor with bare steel wheels rather than tires.
Although the company has been swallowed up by mergers, toymakers are still making Allis-Chalmers replicas “for people who had them back then and would love to have a model,” Weaver said.
Collecting model tractors is much cheaper than owning and operating real tractors, Weaver said, but “they can get quite expensive.”
He would like to add some tractor tools, like a sprayer and a baler, to his collection.
“They sell for $200 to $300 each,” he said. “I’ll wait for them to put them on sale.”
Other miniatures on display at the event included a model train setup donated by Danny Grimm of East Huntingdon as a permanent feature on the association grounds.
Five trains of varying scales spin and weave through tunnels and over wooden trestles he has made by hand. The layout started as a simple trail around his family Christmas tree, but expanded to include custom touches like a log cabin inspired in part by Grimm’s house.
“I made it for my kids and grandkids, as a little hobby for them,” Grimm said. “I kept adding more, and it kind of overtook my porch. I’d put it up every year and then tear it down.
Although it will bring the train’s locomotives and wagons home during the winter, the route will remain and may be expanded in the future.
“It will be fine to leave it here,” he said.
Wet conditions outside did not hamper activity inside the large forge on the association’s grounds. Members of a group of blacksmiths who meet there weekly were on hand to hammer small decorative items, including a metal hook with a heart-shaped end.
With help from members, visitors were able to twist strands of baling twine donated by the Greensburg Agway store into lengths of rope available for purchase.
As the rain slowed, an intrepid operator jumped into a Farmall tractor to finish plowing a hillside field on the land that will be planted by a local farmer.