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For the love of tractors

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Artesia Firefighter Rick Burks checks out an antique tractor at the Eddy County Fair. (Timothy P. Howsare Photo)

Antique tractor collector Jerry Frazier said that old tractors were the “rocket science of their time.”

Jerry Frazier, right, with a 1951 Ford tractor. (Timothy P. Howsare Photo)

A good example is the 1934 McCormick-Deering that was recently on display at the Eddy County Fair.

It was gasoline-powered with a carburetor on one side of the engine, and on the other side, it was diesel-powered with fuel injectors. Gasoline would start the engine, then the diesel would kick in.

If you look on a few car-tekkie websites, you will find that this is a “new technology” in development by a few car manufacturers.

Frazier is one of the more active members of the Pecos Valley Classic Ag Antique Tractor Club. He said he has about 100 tractors in various stages of restoration at his house in Artesia.

Frazier calls Artesia home, but many members live in different towns or states.

Frazier said the club does about 25 to 30 shows and parades a year, starting out with Fredericksburg, Texas, on a 20-mile tractor drive in April.

Frazier said the tractor owners never get paid for showing off their machines, but love to do it.

“If they invite us, we’ll usually go,” he said.

Frazier said he wanted to donate one of his restored tractors to the Artesia Historical Museum & Art Center, but they didn’t have enough room for it, so he donated it to Carlsbad.

“They have got an ag museum they are starting,” he said. “I told them that if I donated it, it would have to be kept inside. Mayor Dale Janway of Carlsbad is really into history.”

Frazier said the reason he restores tractors is because he loves it.

“I don’t make money doing it,” he said.

Recently, he bought an Earthmaster from Washington State.

“I have a lot of tractors that nobody has ever seen,” he said. “I collect tractors from all over the U.S.”

Rick Burks, an Artesia firefighter, was checking out the tractors at the fair. He said looking at them reminded him of when he was a kid mowing the lawn with a Massey-Ferguson.

Burks pointed out that unlike many models of new tractors, the old ones didn’t have air-conditioned cabs.

“These are unique, like old cars,” he said.

The antique tractor club has about 50 members but is always looking for new members. Call 575-365-6305 for more information.