The Antique Tractor Club is a non-profit organization dedicated to the collection, restoration, preservation, and exhibition of early day agricultural machinery & tools, including power and horse-driven farm machinery, or any other equipment of historical value.
The Antique Tractor Club aka The South Central Montana Antique Tractor & Machinery Association is affiliated with the “Early Day Gas Engine & Tractor Association”, (EDGE&TA) as Branch 29. The EDGE&TA is a national organization that puts its members in touch with other collectors all over the USA and provides insurance for our events. The club meets monthly, every third Thursday, at the Yellowstone Valley Electric Cooperative Hall in Huntley.
Our main event each year is the Annual Threshing Bee. It is held the third weekend in August at the Huntley Project Museum of Irrigated Agriculture approximately 15 miles NE of Billings Montana. This is the time of the year when the club members bring out their latest restoration of a tractor, stationary engine, or demonstrate their expertise in blacksmithing, binding grain, threshing, sawmill operation. Antique tractors and steam engines power the sawmill, thresh the grain, and plow as it was done in the early days. For entertainment there is an antique tractor pull. Our show is different than most in that we encourage members to demonstrate their equipment, not just show it as a static display.
Our members enjoy competing with each other in slow tractor races, where the slowest tractor wins. They also demonstrate their tractor skills in a barrel race, where antique tractors are used to push a barrel across a finish line. A tractor balance, like the teeter-totter that we all played with in grade school demonstrates the operators’ skill (and luck!). The antique tractor pull uses a progressing weight sled. This gives each tractor driver a chance to see if his tractor will out pull his fellow members’ tractor. For the smaller kids, the members sponsor a kiddee pedal tractor pull, where the younger set can test their strength and skills. About the middle of each day of the two-day threshing bee, a parade of power is held, where each mobile piece of equipment is paraded and shown off to the spectators.
On the Threshing Bee grounds, fresh corn on the cob is steamed from a steam engine. Grain is cut with a binder, threshed with a threshing machine, cleaned, ground, and made into bread, all on the same day. A taste of bread is given to those attending. A thresher lunch is available at noon each day. Musical entertainment is also provided during the show.
Our club welcomes and encourages a variety of interests. Some members are interested in antique tractors, such as two cylinder John Deere’s, McCormick-Deering, Farmall, Case, Rumely, Hart Parr, Oliver, Allis Chalmers, Fordson, and others. Other members are interested in the stationary engines that were used on early day farms and ranches to pump water, grind feed, power electrical plants, run stationary hay balers, and even operate grandma’s washing machine. A few members are interested in blacksmithing, using a hot fire from a forge, a hammer and an anvil to form iron into intricate shapes such as gate hooks, steak turners, coat hooks, even to reshape plowshares. Several of the club’s members own and operate steam engines during the show. Steam traction engines were used on early farms for threshing, operating a threshing machine by a long flat drive belt, and to pull large gang plows for breaking up the prairie sod. They were also used commercially to power sawmills and build roads.
The Antique Tractor Club also participates in many of the parades around the Billings area each year (see Events Calendar). The Antique Tractor Club has a potluck dinner meeting in October for the whole family. The club’s membership consists of about 200 families. It’s members’ come from Miles City to Columbus, and Bridger to Lewistown, and even has members from out of the state and Canada.
The club is affiliated with the “Early Day Gas Engine & Tractor Association”, (EDGE&TA) as Branch 29. The EDGE&TA is a national organization that puts its members in touch with other collectors all over the USA. The club meets monthly, every third Thursday, at the Yellowstone Valley Electric Cooperative Hall in Huntley.
The South Central Montana Antique Tractor And Machinery Association was formed in 1987. The club was conceived during one of Oscar’s Dreamland shows, when Dave and Leo Lambrecht, Duane Schieffer and Dick Tombrink were helping Oscar with his show. Since each of them had some antique machinery of their own that they would like to display, they decided to form a club, so they could have their own show. Thus the birth of the South Central Montana Antique Tractor and Machinery Association, called the Antique Tractor Club for short.
The first Threshing Bees were held at the Duane Schieffer and Lambrecht farms. In 1991 we started having our Threshing Bees at the Huntley Project Museum.
1992: We became affiliated with the Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association (EDGETA) as branch 29.
1994: We built a small 12′ X 20′ building to serve as a blacksmith shop. It was later converted to sell pop and water during the Threshing Bee.
1997: The club undertook a major project of building a new larger blacksmith shop. The 48′ X 56′ pole construction building is used to display and demonstrate blacksmith shop artifacts that were purchased near Circle, MT. The club not only operates the blacksmith shop but also uses it for static displays related to The Old Tractor Club. Club members interested in doing blacksmith work can demonstrate their expertise during the threshing bee, and have the use of the building any time during the year to perfect their blacksmithing abilities.
2000: We restored a wood planer that was resurected from a local recycling center. We also restored a windmill and erected it in the spring in 2001.
2001: We placed the sawmill on a permanent concrete foundation.
2003: We added 16′ wings to the North and South sides of the blacksmith shop for storage.
2004: A concrete pad was installed in the center section of the main blacksmith shop building. We also built a progressive weight tractor pull sled to be used at the Threshing Bee.
2005: We constructed a 24′ x 50′ building to enclose our sawmill.
2006: We added steaming corn with a steam engine to our Threshing Bee.
2007: We built a barrel ride for kids to be used at our Threshing Bee and for local parades. We also added the attraction of baking bread from grain cut that day with a binder, threshed, cleaned, and ground to flour.