October 18, 2021

Antique tractors work again for good cause

Nick Graziano/contributing photographer

Steve Winchester, left, of Homer, on his 1952 Ford 528n tractor helps plow the field Saturday, while Jody Beard, of East Homer, on his 1960s Case 930 tractor follows behind. They were two of about six antique tractor owners who attended the 13th annual Plow Day event in East Homer.

HOMER — The scene Saturday morning behind the East Homer United Method Methodist Church off Route 13 was an image from the past.

Antique tractors from the 1950s and 60s were plowing a large lot of land, turning up dirt to make the landscape ready for planting.

“God, I love that sound!” shouted one person from a crowd of about 40 watching the old tractors plow the land for the 13th annual Plow Day.

For Keith Stone of Lapeer, the event reminds him of the days when he was a farmer from 1962 to 1985.

“I like to hear those John Deeres,” Stone said. “It brings back memories.”

This year was his fifth time coming to the event, which also featured a pancake breakfast, chicken barbecue, bake sale and horse-drawn wagon rides. Stone said he was a little disappointed because in years past there were about 12 tractors out in the field at a time, and this year there was about half that. However, he acknowledged the hazy weather was probably the cause of that and he still enjoyed watching the tractors do their work.

The event is an effort between members of the church and nearby residents. The Albright Grange club in East Homer served the pancake breakfast, the church served the chicken barbecue and members of the Tractors of Yesteryear antique tractor club either volunteered to help or brought their tractors to plow.

Helen Lett, treasurer for the church, said it usually serves about 400 chickens for the barbecue and always sells out.

“It is a nice community event,” she said. “There is always something for kids to do, too.”
John Phelps, a member of the Tractors of Yesteryear club, said a former pastor of the church suggested the idea for Plow Day 13 years ago, and it has been ongoing ever since, no matter the weather. Some years they would even plow in the snow.

The event is just a fun activity for the community and antique tractor owners, he said.
Steve Winchester of Homer has been coming to the event with his 1952 Ford 528n tractor for three years. He has owned the tractor for about 15 years, but does not have a farm himself. It is a collectible he enjoys getting the chance to show off.

“I like playing with old toys and seeing the people,” Winchester said.

It was also Homer native Ben Brooks’ third time at the event, too. He brought his 1971 John Deere 4020 tractor to plow with. He has had it for three years and said he’s put a lot of work into it. The event is a good chance for him to show it to the community and use it for fun.

But he said what he enjoys most is getting a look at the past with the vintage tractors plowing the field.