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What makes a good tractor show?


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On another forum the question was raised "What makes a good steam show". I didn't want to hijack the thread so I thought I would ask for opinions here.
We do not have any steam engines come to our show but we do try and have demonstrations with tractors and small engines. Last year we threshed, shredded and shelled corn, run an ensilage cutter, ground corn with a truck monted hammermill and burr mills.
We compete with a very popular engine show the same weekend as our show and several years ago someone really ticked the engine guys off at our show so we have a limited number of engines as well.
We have a good show overall and I would like to make it better.
I would also like thoughts and suggestions to bring more young people into our hobby
Thanks for any input

Brothers Clemens

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Make it not every year.
Do it once in the 3 or 5 years.
We went to to much shows in the past.
Situation gets borring for us.

It keep the exitment much higher if you do it not every year.
And try to make it a little differend everytime with other things in it.:O

Candy T.

Hi Murph,
It sounds like your show has a great start with working exhibits. But, I understand about competition for certain weekends. There are some weekends when there are no shows around here. You might pick a different weekend.
As for the exhibitors that have become soured by past incidents, there is no making someone come back. Small shows have their charm. Some people don't like large crowds. This year I'm planning on attending a smaller show instead of the bigger one. It needs my support, too.

Having kid friendly grounds is helpful, too. A playground with pedal tractors that have implements attached to them for grating in the sand. Make sure there are benches so parents can take a breather, too.

I don't know what it is about a rock pulverizer but, I feel like I could sit and watch it all day. But, then again I like watching wrestling, too. My kids like watching the blacksmiths.

Kids driving tractors is done at some shows. But, I suppose there is a liability issue there and the insurance, too.

Good Luck with your show.

Andrew Mackey

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A tracter pull for the kids is also a good attraction, both for the kids and the adults! Give trophies for fires, and ribbons (2nd, 3rd 4th place, and participated) for all contestents. Every kid goes home with something. Just to say you participated is often good enough for a youngster. make everyone who attends welcome, and you probably will get many returns. it doesn't hurt to have a couple donation buckets around either. if visitors enjoy the show, they will show their appreciation and support. We use 5 gallon water jugs, with the clubs logo and a sign asking for donations to help make next years show even better than this one. We have a permanant fence around out engine display, and the donation jugs are zip tied to the fence posts. Sad to say, we used to have then near the dorways on our display building, but someone decided he needed the money and the jug, more than we did. Cops caught him trying to leave the fair grounds with the bottle under his coat, but a passer-by, who saw the rip off gave a description to the cops. To be honest with you, we didn't even notice it had gone missing, as we had a huge crowd in the building, due to a rain storm. As we were running lights with our Lister power plant, we were the only display building with power for over an hour! We had a great turn out, and many people had said they had just walked by the building, not knowing what was inside. Our display explainers were almost hourse with all the talking they did that night!


I joined a tractor club last year. They have a annual show from horse plowing,threshing, potato digging with all periods of time represented. Ill look and see if I have pics of it. I know there is alot of belt powered stuff including a rock crusher and a saw mill.

Craig A

Staff member
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Sounds like you have things under control murph....... :brows:
Engines. tractors and ACTION.
ACTION is what it's all about. Have SOMETHING going on all the time so folks don't mistake your show for a museum....... :uhoh:

Dave Misch might pipe in about things for kids........he seems to have had some success with that.

Ben Zimmerer

Start up some competitions like tractor races where you have to hand crank the tractor before you take off, find a place to do some plowing, have a concert, hay rides, make homemade ice cream, etc.


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Well, no steam isn't always a killer for shows. Our local show usually has one steam engine there; I often try to go out of my way to thank him for being there with his traction engine to run the sawmill. He seems to enjoy the smaller show too.

I agree having plowing demos is good if you have the space, as it gives the crowd a chance to go walk in a different area and look at working tractors. Your other exhibits are pretty neat sounding, so you have those bases covered.

I know you said that you have a competing show, but if you can encourage attendees to make a good swap meet, that can also draw people in. I know I like "dumpster diving" with my dad and wife's uncle! :brows:

Good luck and make sure the date is posted on the show calendar here too! You never know how many people will look at it and decide to come! :shrug:

Brothers Clemens

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A lot of very good idee’s
How about girls that are mudfighting.:eek:.....:D

Sure you are going to have a lot of spectators.:eek:...:D

Kevin Watson

I did go to a show in Holland there was lots of mud & a crazy German guy with a Hart Parr. I must have missed the girls but it was a dam good show.

The best shows are the ones where you are asked what you want to do or asked where you want to park not told!!


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We advertise Alexander Steam Show as a family activity. We advertise a flea market for men and ladies. Have to keep the ladies occupied while the guys do their stuff. For kids we have the sneaker pull during every evening tractor pull. We have a play area for kids with a huge sand pile, a rope maker, and a frame with several different block and tackle. You can find this stuff under kids activities. We have trams to move people around the grounds. With our new parking lot so far away, we run them until the crowd is gone from the pulling track. That is close to midnight. We received a donation this past year for some rest areas to give a place to sit in the shade. We have lumber cut for five of these around the grounds.

Dave Mischler, Alexander Steam Show :wave:


We advertise Alexander Steam Show as a family activity.
And the show succeeds as a result! Alexander's gotta be the most "family friendly" of all the shows I've attended over the past 30+ years.

For kids we have the sneaker pull during every evening tractor pull.
The sneaker pull is a real hoot! The chance for a couple hundred kids to pull against a traction engine in the middle of the pulling track is a crowd pleaser every time:


Gary Davis

Diversification: I go to quite a few show a year and the ones that utilize all tractors and engines seem to grow or are at least stable. I am a walk behind Garden tractor collector and I have went to a show claiming to want all types of tractors and equipment and after 3 days not one person ( director, vip/anyone directly connected) to the show came by and said thanks for coming. I felt like if I wasn't welcome. Needless to say the visitors were glad I was there and made my effort to display history all worth it. After talking to the hit and miss engine guys they all agreed and had came to the same conclusion. I have never returned and all the show still has is antique tractors and equipment: The same tractors are there: The same internationals, olivers, john deeres. I guess they are the welcome ones. I did contact the directors through an email telling them my concerns and not one even had the curtousy to reply.