Tractor club extols past

Published 3:42 pm Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Lifestyles & Features Editor

CHOCOWINITY — Nathan Sopher stared in wide-eyed wonder at dozens of tiny replicas of farm machinery and trucks.
The display was part of the annual Antique Tractor Show held over the weekend and sponsored by the Eastern Antique Power Association. Sopher’s fascination with tractors comes naturally; his father, Matt, is the president of the association.
The show is an attempt to keep alive the tradition of farming and life in the “good old days,” according to the elder Sopher.
“It’s really one of those things where it’s kind of dying out,” he said. “Farming, in a lot of ways, is beginning to fade away from us.”
Association members are doing their part to celebrate the farming industry and educate the younger generations about life in their grandparents’ day.
“We’re trying to keep the old ways going,” said Sopher, who’s been a member of the association for five years and is in his second year as its president. “We want to reach out to people and let them know what this lifestyle was really like.”
Like most other members of the association, Sopher said he has his favorites. He owns two Farmall tractors, and he has a couple of old hit-and-miss engines he’s trying to find the time to restore.
“Everybody in the club has things they tend to go after,” Sopher said, gesturing to row after row of tractors and assorted farm equipment. “We want to keep this club and the show growing.”
In these hard economic times, the Eastern Antique Power Association is keeping its prices affordable. Admission to the event, held at Stan Hudson’s showgrounds on Bear Creek Road west of Chocowinity, is free.
And there’s always plenty to do. The weekend was packed with activities, including pedal-tractor races for children, tractor pulls, slowest-tractor race and a parade of power, during which club members circled the showgrounds on their favorite tractors.
Also featured were homemade crafts, vintage automobiles, an auction and displays of collectibles from days gone by, including an Esso gas pump, tin advertising signs, old bottles and housewares. Live bluegrass and gospel music was provided by the local group Unshackled.
Members of the Eastern Antique Power Association meet the second Tuesday of every month. New members are always welcome. For more information, contact Sopher at 252-944-3551 or Hudson at 252-975-2207.