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Timeless Tractors

Mary Neske's favorite old tractor is the diesel-powered John Deere R. Folks can check it out at the Baker Antique Equipment Show Saturday and Sunday. Her tractor is part of the Power of the Past Museum on Highway 86 east of Baker City.   (Baker City Herald/S. John Collins).
Mary Neske's favorite old tractor is the diesel-powered John Deere R. Folks can check it out at the Baker Antique Equipment Show Saturday and Sunday. Her tractor is part of the Power of the Past Museum on Highway 86 east of Baker City. (Baker City Herald/S. John Collins).

By LISA BRITTON

Of the Baker City Herald

Mary Neske grew up around antique farm equipment.

Her father, the late Pug Robinson, started the "Power of the Past" antique farm equipment show 23 years ago.

Neske is continuing the shows since her father's death last year. "Power of the Past" will take place this weekend, Sept. 7 and 8 at the equipment museum on Hwy. 86, one mile east of I-84.

Neske, 37, began helping her dad when she was only five years old.

"I just grew up with it. You follow your dad — I was a daddy's girl," she said.

Always in search of a new addition to the museum, she accompanied him to auctions, yard sales, or to meet with someone who wanted to get rid of equipment.

Neske still continues this quest, although not as extensively as her dad did. Last weekend she made a trip to Sumpter to place a bid on an antique grain drill.

On Saturday, there will be additional equipment on display, as well as the permanent museum.

"People bring in their tractors, gas engines and equipment to show," she said.

Anyone is invited to bring exhibits, and participants travel to Baker City from all over the region, including Washington, western Oregon and Idaho, as well as North Powder and Sumpter.

They even get visitors who are "just traveling through," Neske said.

However, she doesn't always get a chance to mingle with the crowd at the show because she's so busy in the "cook shack." She, along with her mother, Mary Robinson, and Vivian Tucker of John Day provide vittles for the crowd.

The event starts at 7 a.m. with an extensive breakfast menu.

The meal consists of eggs, bacon, hashbrowns, pancakes and biscuits for $5. However, there are four other combinations of those ingredients, with prices ranging from $5 down to $2.

Lunch will be hamburgers and chips for $3, or with potato salad for $4. A large bowl of chili is $2, and a small bowl is $1.50.

Quitting time is at dark, but before they call it a day, Neske said they'll have a potluck dinner and some old-time music on Saturday. Participants are encouraged to bring their own instruments.

They'll open up again on Sunday morning at 7 a.m.

She said that she has quite a bit of help from members of the Baker Antique Equipment Association to organize the event.

"It's a lot of work, but I enjoy it. I wouldn't do it if I didn't enjoy it," she said.

Neske doesn't see an end to the Power of the Past events anytime soon. She'll help keep up the tradition of what she calls the "last little show of the year."

"It's what Dad would have wanted," she said.

 
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