HANCEVILLE, Ala. – Saturday morning was not a good time to be doing anything outdoors around Hanceville, as the rain fell in buckets and booms of thunder shook folks awake in the early daylight hours. But for farmers, rainy days are just food for the crops, and no excuse for hiding under a roof. Farmers and agricultural enthusiasts braved the elements to set up for the 21st annual Hanceville Antique Tractor & Engine Show.
The weather did shrink the crowd, as some collectors chose to keep their prized tractors out of the rain, but staunch big wheel and horsepower fans still managed to display more than 20 tractors and vintage farm engines between early morning and lunchtime storms. They got in the ladies’ skillet toss early, then pushed through a hurried schedule of slow races (power ‘em down but don’t let ‘em stall, and the last tractor across the line wins!), kids’ toy pedal tractor races and the “Parade of Power” around Wallace State’s campus. Door prizes and the Best of Show trophy were handed out as the rain began to fall again.
Ed Norris of Nauvoo won Best of Show with his restored vintage International Harvester Farmall 240.
Event co-host Bonnie Hamrick Brannan of Hamrick Farms, whose father Jimmy Hamrick founded the show with friend Hershel Needham, talked to The Tribune about her dad:
“He and some friends, they liked restoring tractors and he liked being around tractors. He’s always worked outdoors. After going to some of the events and different shows around the state, they decided, ‘You know what, we just need to have one in Hanceville!’ And so they did; they started one up. We’ve had years, you know, when he was alive, where we had like 90 tractors. I mean, it was just huge out here.
“He loved it. He restored several tractors. I have one of his tractors; he actually restored the tractor that I’ve been driving. He loved his community and just had so many friends. The tractor community, they’re just a great big family.”
Brannan said many of the tractors and engines, like hers, have stories their owners can tell: equipment coming from multi-generational family farms and being passed down to children and children’s children.
Said Brannan, “It’s great history, you know. It’s a good thing to bring your children out and show them how it was. I mean, we’ve got to have farmers for the future. We’ve got to continue that, so it’s a good thing to bring out. It’s family-friendly, and shows them how it was or how it is, and just a good overall family thing.”
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