Gas Engine Show attracts seasoned, new collectors

40th annual Bernardston event attracts tractors, riders of all ages

  • Brothers Roger (right) and Lloyd Nice ride on Roger’s homemade 1922 Model T “doodlebug” tractor at the 40th annual Bernardston Gas Engine Show. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • Donnie Tyler, 59, of Northfield sits atop his 1923 Model T "doodlebug" tractor at the 40th annual Bernardston Gas Engine Show. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • Bud Streeter, 87, of Bernardston, one of the founders of the Bernardston Gas Engine Show and Giant Flea Market, waves from a 1972 Manoray Ariens tractor Saturday. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • Wesley Welcome, of East Concord, Vermont, sits on his 1959 David Bradley 300 Super tractor which also has a plow attached, at the 40th annual Bernardston Gas Engine Show and Giant Flea Market Saturday, May 28. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • Vickie Ovitt, of Bernardston, pushes her grandson Benjamin Shockro, 2½, on a toy John Deere tractor at the 40th annual Bernardston Gas Engine Show and Giant Flea Market Saturday. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • Campers fill the field at the 40th annual Bernardston Gas Engine Show and Giant Flea Market Saturday, May 28. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • Lloyd Nice, 77, of Romford, Vermont, sits with his brother, Roger Nice, 81, of Middleboro on a 1922 Doodlebug tractor made from a Ford Model T, at the 40th annual Bernardston Gas Engine Show and Giant Flea Market Saturday, May 28. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • Bud Streeter, 87, of Bernardston, one of the founders of the Bernardston Gas Engine Show and Giant Flea Market, drives a 1972 Manoray Ariens tractor, at the 40th anniversary of the event Saturday. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • Cliff Lundberg, of Salem, New Hampshire, drives a 1967 International Club Lo-Boy tractor, pulling his wife Terrie Lundberg, in a reclining chair at the 40th annual Bernardston Gas Engine Show and Giant Flea Market Saturday, May 28. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • Decals and photos adorn the inside of a vintage hot rod at the 40th annual Bernardston Gas Engine Show and Giant Flea Market Saturday, May 28. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

Recorder Staff
Published: 5/29/2016 10:42:53 PM

Roger Nice’s love of tractors began when he was just a boy. He loved spending time with his grandfather, who owned two Model T tractors, and he loved tinkering with the engines of his neighbors’ junk vehicles to find out what really made them tick.

Now, Nice, of Middleboro, is 77 years old and has a 1922 Model T tractor of his own, in addition to five Fortune tractors. He is “hung up on Model T stuff,” buying and selling parts, and helping to repair engines.

It’s Nice’s passion for tractors and engines that keeps him coming back to Bernardston’s annual Gas Engine Show and flea market year after year.

On Saturday, at the 40th annual show, Nice and his 81-year-old brother Lloyd Nice could be seen riding around on his pride and joy.

Despite often long drives, Nice and many other exhibitors at the Gas Engine Show make a point of returning to particular engine shows each year. Nice attends three shows each year in Massachusetts and Maine, and competes in weight sled pulling in Vermont.

“We meet a lot of people (in Bernardston) that we see at other shows too,” Nice said.

Like 59-year-old Donnie Tyler and his wife, Kristin, from Northfield, who have been attending Bernardston’s show ever since its inaugural year. For the Tylers, a love of engines has become a family affair.

“What keeps me coming back every year is my grandson,” Donnie Tyler said. “He’s almost 5 years old now and he loves this stuff.”

Donnie Tyler’s love of tractors delves so deep that he said he attends one tractor and engine show every weekend all summer, traveling as far as Pennsylvania. On Saturday, Tyler brought two Model T tractors, more affectionately called “doodlebugs,” a term used by collectors to describe old homemade tractors made from Model T parts.

“I worked every morning to night on (the 1923 Model T tractor) for the past three weeks,” he said. Tyler currently owns about a dozen tractors.

On other occasions, the Tylers attend just as spectators.

“If we go on vacation, we go to a tractor show,” he said. “My hobby definitely outgrew me. ... (My wife) says I have an iron deficiency — I just keep buying more.”

While many exhibitors have been collecting for decades, tractor and engine enthusiasts of all ages were present at the Bernardston show. Teens drove around on their own tractors, and older exhibitors gave rides to eager children.

Part of the reason that Cliff and Terrie Lundberg of Salem, N.H., enjoy engine shows so much is that they are family-oriented.

“My kids grew up with their engine show friends,” Terrie Lundberg said. The Lundbergs have traveled just as far as the Tylers, to Pennsylvania, for engine shows, and have been attending the Bernardston event for the past 25 years.

However, the Lundbergs, in their collection of about two dozen engines and six tractors, have something that cannot be seen at every tractor and engine show: a 1967 International Cub Lo-boy pulling a recliner on wheels, with an umbrella attached for shade.

Cliff Lundberg, 52, explained that he got the idea six years ago, when the family replaced an old recliner in their living room with a new one, and the old chair was put out by the garage, next to a set of wheels on an axle.

“While I was outside drinking a beer, I kept looking at the chair and the wheels, the chair and the wheels, and I thought, ‘I bet I can put the chair on those wheels,’” he said. Lundberg has never seen another tractor exactly like his.

Lundberg said he tries to spend a few hours each night working on his collection of tractors, though for those with a true passion for tractors and engines, Nice said, it is easy to spend hundreds of hours on a project. While those outside of the hobby may wonder why, Nice has the answer: a mere two sentences that sum up his love for tractors.

“We call them therapy machines,” he said. “It keeps us young, we think.”


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