Tractor Parade and Show Showcases Robbins' History
By Kate Smith
Tractors are an emblem of the South. Texas is known for its wheaty bales of hay and stately pumpers. South Carolina drawls with cotton crops and family market chats. Moore County back-road drives hum with the sounds of crickets and tractors, both cultivating the fields that flash on either side.
At the 56th annual Robbins Farmers Day Parade, Saturday, Aug. 6, a show and parade of tractors will be an allotted part of the festivities, a commemoration of the farmer's prized possession.
"Farming has been the backbone of this part of the country," says Shorty Brown, the parade's organizer and owner of Shorty's Service Center, a farm equipment repair station.
Seventy years ago, Karl Robbins brought to the town its name and the resilient Pinehurst Silk Mill that stumbled safely through the Great Depression. Karl Robbins has been remembered as devoted to the small town; encouraging each sect of beneficial industry. Children of farming generations would toil daily in the mills before returning to their crops and, gradually, their self-sufficient raisings became Robbins' stake.
Robbins Farmers Day is now a welcoming of proud family heritage and hours of storytelling around the equipment.
"I've seen as many as four generations being operated," Brown says. "We of course have Internationals that go through John Deere, Ford, Allis Chalmers, Oliver. The kids like to ride on those. But we also have very unique stuff like Silver Kings. So this parade is for everybody."
What began in the earliest years of 1900 were mammoth machines called gas traction engines, a hybrid of the locomotive and a massive buggy. Tractor history progressed from steam to gasoline power and from haulage to plowing.
Though Brown says that it's impossible to adequately define the parade, due to the variables in entries, usually there are several aged tractor ancestors present.
"We really like the antique stuff," he says. "Most of the stuff you will find in our show is from 1960 and back."
Leading the tractor grandparents are kids under the age of 13 riding pedal tractors, what Brown says "has been one of the favorites of the crowd."
"We're getting large enough that there's something new every year that excites you."
You and the judges, as at the close of each tractor parade, first- and second-place trophies are awarded to each tractor category, as well as trophies given for Best of Show, Best Antique Farm Rig and Best Modified Lawn Mower.
"This parade is a very family-oriented event," Brown says.
However, the Southern hospitality of the founding families has invited entries from all over the state, and each year has happily garnered drivers that "come from several miles away," Brown says.
"No longer is this a strictly local event. It's turned out to be pretty statewide, which is fantastic. The more the merrier. I have no idea what it'll be this year."
Preceding the parade will be the Antique Tractor and Farm Equipment Show, held at 9 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 6, on Fousher Street until the beginning of the parade at 4 p.m.
There is no preregistration or entry fee for those who want to display their antique farm equipment or be including in judging.
For viewing, equipment should be brought to Fousher Street at 9 a.m. and to be judged must be on display by 2 p.m.
The Parade of Tractors will begin at 4 p.m. on Main Street, with the trophy presentation following around 5 p.m.
Brown is anticipating the event's unfolding, and sends thanks to all of the families, particularly Vance Auman, who have assisted in the continuance of the parade.
"Vance heads VA Transport out of Seagrove, and has helped me tremendously with this thing," Brown says. "He's got a big wheel out of the early '50s that runs just great, and he leads the parade with that old tractor every year."
Robbins' farmers and business people alike will reunion again for the 56th time on the first weekend of August.
"They're pretty close-knit people, which all farm people are," Brown says, and they're again welcoming guests to be a part of the festivities and be a part of the family.
For more information about Farmers Day and the Tractor Parade, visit www.robbinsfarmersday.com.
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