The rich agricultural history of rural northwestern North Carolina will be on display Saturday from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Rock House Ruritan Building, as the Rock House Ruritan Club hosts its 20th annual Antique Tractor, Auto, Engines and Farm Equipment Show.
In addition to recognizing the event’s two-decade history, this year’s expanded show will take on a special significance as it will be held in memory of departed club member Todd Gordon.
According to club member Don Bennett, Gordon had played an instrumental role in starting the club prior to it being charted in August 1994 and continued to be an important part of its mission until his unexpected passing on Dec. 26.
“Todd was one of the ones who went around signing people up when we were getting started,” Bennett remembered. “He had helped start the tractor show and over the years we’ve done really good with it. Before he passed away, he was one of three surviving charter members. He meant a lot to this club.“
Originally organized as a tractor show, the event has grown over the years to include an assortment of classic vehicles, engines and other farm equipment and antiques related to the community’s agricultural culture.
While becoming more diverse, the show has kept tractors as a featured part of its displays. Among this year’s highlights will be a tractor parade and free hayride scheduled for 9:30 a.m. The parade is open to all tractors on hand and anyone may take part in the hayride, with all children to be accompanied by an adult.
Live music will be a new addition to the show with Travis Frye and the Blue Mountain Band, featuring Henry Mabe on fiddle, scheduled to take part.
The show will also feature the debut of an 1800s replica stage coach, built especially for the day.
Other featured highlights will include the return of a pair of demonstrations of once popular but increasingly obscure skills. Joe Allen of Ararat will be on hand to demonstrate blacksmithing techniques. A second demonstration will feature Pinnacle resident Hal Rosenquist sawing wood and grinding corn with his Fairbanks Morse “hit and miss” engine.
An unusual attraction that has proved popular with younger generations in past shows will be on hand as Thomas Hicks returns with his barrel train ride for children.
Displayed alongside the tractors will be other pieces of antique farm equipment and a collection of more than 75 pieces of horse drawn equipment.
Other additions will include a new vendor, Roy King of Sam’s Shack mini-doughnuts.
The demonstrations will be part of a full day of food, fellowship and entertainment planned for the annual fundraiser. Tents and shaded areas will be available throughout the day as will concessions.
Admission for the day will be free, with funds to be raised primarily by tickets sold for a $1,000 cash drawing scheduled for 1 p.m. Tickets will be $10 each. Advance tickets are now available from any club member.
According to Bennett, proceeds will be used by the club to help residents with need primarily in the club’s local community and the surrounding area as well as local seniors with medical or heating needs.
“We’re really happy with the way this has come together,” Bennett said. “We have a good band playing and we’re hoping to have more tractors. We think it’s going to be one of our big ones.”
The Rock House Ruritan Building is located at 2889 Highway 268 East, five miles outside of Pilot Mountain, adjacent to the Double Creek Volunteer Fire Department. For additional information on the day, Bennett may be contacted at 336-351-2893 or Brent Bennett can be reached at 336-813-0461.
“We want to thank our community for the support that’s been shown over the years,” Bennett said. “We’re hoping everybody will come out to see the displays and enjoy some good food and good music.”