October 18, 2021

All Wheels Show brings trucks, tractors, bikes to Homer

A well-rounded event

Travis Dunn/Staff Reporter

Earl Randolph, right, makes the rounds Saturday in his homemade replica of Henry Ford’s first car at the All Wheels Show and Tractor Pull on Saturday at the Central New York Living History Center.

Trucks, tractors, cars, bikes, scooters and a contraption driven by a five-horsepower lawnmower engine were all on display Saturday at the third annual All Wheels Show and Tractor Pull at the Central New York Living History Center on Route 11 in Cortlandville.

The contraption in question was actually a replica of the first car that Henry Ford built in 1903, said its creator, Earl Randolph of Cortland.

The box-shaped wooden buggy has four spoke wheels and a tiller for steering, just like Ford’s car; the lawnmower engine was the main difference with the original. It reaches a maximum speed of 8 mph.

Randolph, a dairy farmer, has driven the car in dairy parades, but this was his first time in competition at the All Wheels Show.

He’s got another one in the works, too. This one seats four.

“I’ve got the frame all built and it’s on wheels,” he said. “It’s just something to do. It’s a hobby.”

The best wheels
First prizes in the All Wheels Show went to:

  • Ernest Pflueger of Homer for his gold 1997 Ford Mustang in the People’s Choice category.
  • John Speicher of Cortland for his blue 2008 Subaru Impreza Coupe racecar in the Most Unique category.

Nearby, Lee Miller of Groton showed off his collection of antique bicycles and scooters, such as two Honda Kick ‘N Go scooters, which featured a kick- pedal on the back that turned a chain attached to the rear wheel — making it a kind of hybrid between a scooter and a bike.

“I really wanted one of these when I was a kid,” Miller said.

Miller and his son, Thomas, 17, have amassed a collection of about 250 bicycles and scooters, only a handful of which were on display Saturday, including a 1970s Fantichini Italian mini- motorbike and two Harley Davidson bicycles that looked like mini motorcycles.

Miller said he was proud of his latest acquisition — a Sears Free Spirit bike made in the mid-1970s that he found rusting in the weeds near a garage sale. He spent three nights cleaning and polishing it, until it looked almost brand new.

The bikes he liked as a kid are now collectors’ items, he said, such as a type of Schwinn that can be worth up to $4,000 today.

“As kids we beat the crap out of them and threw them in a scrap yard,” he said. “They’re highly collectible today.”

Behind the museum, the farm tractors were struggling to pull increasing more difficult loads.

Saturday’s tractor pull, sponsored by the Tractors of Yesteryear, was just for fun — no awards were given — but tractors followed a similar format to regular competitions, hauling a pulling sled that placed increasingly more weight directly on the sled the further the tractor moved it.

Steve Boice and his son, Silas, 13, drove from Marathon to check out the event. Silas said he was mainly interested in the tractors; he can’t wait until he turns 14 and is old enough to compete himself.

“We went down to the Whitney Point tractor pull, but they said he wasn’t old enough,” Steve Boice said.

Next year, however, Silas plans to be a competitor, driving his grandpa’s 1957 Ford 901.