Tractor trials welcome new entry at Emo Fair

If you think you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, you probably were not at the 106th edition of the Emo Fair on Saturday.
In addition to well-known events like the loggers’ competition, the 4-H market steer auction, and the midway, this year’s fair brought in something that, in hindsight, would have been a natural all along.
For the first time, some events were devoted exclusively to that ubiquitous farming tool, the tractor. And by all accounts, it was a resounding success.
Fifteen machines—from antique to contemporary—took part in the parade through Emo and up to the grandstand, but it didn’t stop there. After the parade and formalities, it was time for some good old-fashioned farm fun.
First, there was a tractor pull, in which the machines (divided into over and under 35 h.p. divisions) were required to pull a drag or stone boat loaded with bags of cement.
As each tractor proceeded down the track, people jumped on the drag to increase the weight.
There also were informal races that pitted machine against machine in head-to-head competition on the track in front of the main grandstand.
Although the speeds were less than blinding, and no drag chutes were required to bring the machines safely to a stop, the audience appeared to thoroughly enjoy it.
But the real fun probably was the tractor balance. Here, competitors had to slowly drive their machines up a pair of ramps that pivoted in the middle.
The object was to take the tractor to the point where both ends of the ramp were off the ground and the tractor was resting only on the fulcrum.
It sounded simple enough, but ultimately only two people managed to pull it off.
One of those was Betty Salchert of Devlin, who also helped organize the event. She said yesterday she felt the whole idea of having events especially for tractors was a natural—and plans to expand on it next year.
“It’s nice to get back to the agricultural aspect of it [the fair],” Salchert noted.
But like any new endeavour, there are bound to be some minor glitches. There were some delays as organizers tried to get people and machines to the right places at the right times.
“I think it went over pretty well,” said Salchert. “There were a few problems, but we’ll know what to do next time.”
The biggest problem was communication. As a competitor and organizer, Salchert sometimes found herself needing to be in two places at once.
But she felt with a little more preparation next year, all the drivers will be where they are supposed to be so she won’t be required to track people down.
That, in turn, should speed things up a bit.
Despite some delays, it was obvious the audience loved it and Salchert said she already was thinking about how to improve things next year. For starters, she is considering going from two classes of machines to three and perhaps restricting the entries to antique tractors only.
She also is thinking of organizing an antique tractor club, whose members can attend other events in the district, as well.
< *c>Tractor results
A total of 15 tractors took part in various events at the Emo Fair last weekend (six under 35 h.p. and nine over).
Prizes were donated by the Rainy River Federation of Agriculture, Badiuk Equipment, and DeGagne Equipment.
< *c>Slow race
•Over 35 h.p.—1. Corrie Wiersemea 2. Delbert Redford
•Under 35 h.p.—1. Larry Jack
•Overall winner—Larry Jack
< *c>Tractor balancing
Only two of the 15 competitors were able to balance their tractors on the beams. They were Betty Salchert with her 1947 Massey 20 and Murray Wilson in his Ford B and its modified motor.
< *c>Tractor pull
•Lightweight—1. Wayne Salchert 2. Rod Carter 3. Glen Jackson
• Heavyweight—1. Al Caul 2. Doug Cross 3. Dan Veldhuisen