Hay bales were flying, tires were flipping and vintage tractors chugged along Saturday at the Greene County Fairgrounds.
The occasion was the 26th annual Greene County Antique Farm & Auto Show, which included a spirited Future Farmers of America “Farm Wars” competition among the four FFA chapters at Greene County high schools.
The event was held this year Friday through Sunday at the fairgrounds.
FFA members from Chuckey-Doak, North Greene, South Greene and West Greene high schools participated in a variety of friendly competitions Saturday for Farm Wars bragging rights. FFA competitors were cheered on by a large crowd of fellow students, parents and other supporters.
“It’s the four county high school FFA programs competing against each other in agriculture-related activities,” said Chuck Michael, an FFA advisor from North Greene High School.
Farm Wars included 12 events, many of which encouraged teamwork.
“It just is providing some fun activities to get our kids to develop leadership skills,” Michael said.
The annual event also highlights the central role agriculture continues to play in Greene County, said Kim Casteel, who also serves as an FFA advisor at North Greene High School.
“It honors our agricultural tradition in our county,” Casteel said.
Kaytie Hoxie, a member of the Chuckey-Doak FFA, was one of the participants in a “brain teaser” challenge arranging colored cubes in a particular sequence. Hoxie said the exercise was challenging but fun.
“It was more difficult than I thought it would be,” Hoxie said. “This really is just a great community. I’ve got a lot of friends here and we do a lot of cool stuff.”
Larkin Clemmer, an FFA advisor from Chuckey-Doak High School, said the Farm Wars event helps FFA chapter members learn to work together cooperatively.
“Teamwork is a must,” Clemmer said.
Chase Murray, another FFA advisor from Chuckey-Doak at the event, agreed.
“That’s the cool things about this. It requires them to work together,” he said.
The four Greene County high schools collectively have more than 1,000 FFA members, Murray said.
“I think (FFA) is still very much alive and well here,” he said.
One competition involved a two-person team whose feet were attached wooden boards and who had to move in unison across wet grass to complete an obstacle course.
Twins Hunter and Jaden Gregg, seniors at West Greene High School, made up one of the teams.
“It’s a lot harder than I thought. The wood was slick,” Hunter Gregg said.
The twins enjoy participating in FFA activities.
“Everybody likes to chill. It’s fun,” Jaden Gregg said.
Elsewhere on the fairgrounds, there were vintage tractors and other farm implements from bygone days on display.
Clinton Rutherford stood next to his Sattley hit and miss engine, which rattled away at a satisfying pace.
The five-horsepower device dates from about 1914 and was used on the farm to assist in many chores that otherwise would have had to be done by hand. Those included pumping water, grinding corn and operating a saw.
“Basically, anything a farmer could do with his hands, this could do,” said Ruthertford, who lives in Morristown and works at Imery Fused Materials in Greeneville.
The gas-powered machine was outside under a covering when Rutherford acquired it about seven years ago.
He had it running in no time.
“God blessed me with the talent and luck to work on this stuff. This thing sat (for years) and I only had to put gas in it and it fired right up,” he said.
Keeping vintage farm machinery running is important to the agricultural legacy of places like Greene County, Rutherford said.
“Hopefully, we will get more people interested in this stuff because this is a dying art,” he said. “We need to know that history to see where we came from.”
The Farm & Auto Show included a tractor pull Saturday afternoon. Crafts and food vendors were also part of the event.
The organization sponsoring the Farm & Auto Show began hosting the event in 1996. It has a membership of more than 75 families.
“Our goal is to operate for charitable and educational purposes by fostering and encouraging recognition and appreciation of rural life prior to modern times, aid aid in the collection, exhibition, restoration and preservation of equipment, machines, tools, implements and artifacts,” according to a statement from the event organizers.