In many ways, farming was the bedrock on which Surry County and the surrounding communities were built, serving as the foundation before textiles or other industries.
Even today, agricultural still makes up a big part of the local economy, with farms dotting the countryside and related businesses employing a good number of the workforce.
While modern farming seems almost as much of a commercial operations as an agricultural one, farms were once smaller, family run operations.
Recently, the Rock House Ruritan Club turned back the clock to that time, giving residents and visitors a glimpse of the farming way of life which until recently had long been at the core of the area’s economy.
The occasion was the club’s 19th annual Antique Tractor, Auto, Engine and Farm Equipment Show held at the Rock House Ruritan Building.
While an assortment of classic tractors were again the centerpiece of the day, this year’s show also featured a variety of farm machinery, equipment, displays and demonstrations.
These included a demonstration of grinding corn and sawing wood with a classic “hit and miss” engine, a blacksmithing display and demonstration and a varied display of horse-drawn farming equipment. Other assorted classic engines on display were used for chores ranging from ice cream making to powering an early washing machine.
“I thought the day went well,” noted club member Don Bennett, one of the primary organizers of the event. “We didn’t have quite as many tractors as we’ve had at some past shows but we had more of other things. There were some interesting displays.”
A primary objective of the Rock House Ruritan Club is to help those with need in their community. With this in mind, the annual show is used as a fundraiser driven each year by a $1,000 cash give-away. Saturday’s winner was Sammy Slate of King.
“We did well with our tickets,” Bennett said. “We really appreciate everybody who bought tickets as well as the ones who brought equipment to display and those who came out to see what all we had.”
“It was a good show,” he continued. “The weather was nice and people seemed to be pleased with what we had on display. Everybody enjoyed themselves.”