‘Piddler’ Amasses Tractor Collection
By Mike Barnhardt
Randall Cave has a shed full of restored antique tractors.
And he says with a laugh, “I don’t own none of them any more.”
This grandson has claimed that one. Another grandson claims another. A granddaughter says one is hers. And it goes on and on.
That’s just fine with Cave, who tries to restore a tractor every winter.
Retired from Southern Bell and from raising beef cattle, he spends his days “piddling” around the family farm off North Main Street all day July 4-5, and the parade will travel through Downtown Mocksville beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday.
Cave says he uses whoever he can to help with tractor restorations, including his grandsons.
“They’ve been here since they were born. They were on these tractors when they were young helping look after the cows.”
PAPA founding member James Gray Hendrix will be the grand marshal for this year’s parade. Members are selling tickets for a 1951 Farmall C wide front end tractor – or $3,000 – whichever the winner prefers.
“It’s never been restored,” said Arthur Bostic, PAPA president. “It’s been well taken care of. The trend is going to original. It used to be painted up and pretty and nice and now the trend is more original.”
Cave and Bostic say that working with tractors brings back memories of “lessons learned” in the fields, when families had to work. Cave grew up on a tobacco farm, where every leaf “was treated like gold.”
But that doesn’t mean the club is all older men. There are women – and young people among the 145 or so from several counties who are members.
“Young people are seeing how their ancestors grew up,” Bostic said. “We’re getting more young people in the club than we’ve ever had.”
In addition to the annual free tractor show and parade, PAPA is working to establish a farm life museum, Bostic said, “a place for kids to see how things used to be … It would be like an old-time farmstead.”
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