Steam Show auction-goers have a lust for rust

The auction is a fundraiser for the Mason-Dixon Historical Society. All funds go toward next year's show. More than 325 people had signed up for bidding numbers before 11 a.m. Thursday before gathering around auctioneers Nevin Tasto, Jim Brathuhn and Bryan Green.

Dennis Johnson, of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, seemed elated when he purchased a ring anvil, also known as a cone anvil, for $1.80 during Thursday's auction on the grounds of the Carroll County Farm Museum.

"I saw it [Wednesday] and it was the one thing I wanted. I thought it was kind of cool," said Johnson, who grew up in Westminster and has been attending the Mason-Dixon Historical Society's Steam Show Days since the early 1990s. "If you have something like a wagon wheel you can fix it with this. If I ever get into blacksmithing anymore, I'll use it for that."


The auction is a fundraiser for the Mason-Dixon Historical Society, and all funds go toward next year's show, according to Historical Society President Robert Griesmyer.

More than 325 people had signed up for bidding numbers by 11 a.m. Thursday before gathering around auctioneers Nevin Tasto, Jim Brathuhn and Bryan Green.

"A lot of the guys see each other every year. For a lot of them, it's fun to see what little treasures they can find," Griesmyer said. "I think it's the thrill of the hunt."

Ben Rock, of Taneytown, said he likes to come to the auction to check out the sales and socialize.

"I just want to see what's here. You might find something you can't live without. I collect farm equipment. If it's here, I might be interested," Rock said. "Ninety percent of the people here are my type of people. They're doing the same thing and I can talk to them."

Wayne Fender, of Keymar, said he comes to the auction every year.

"I love to see what they have for sale. I collect old tractors and come to see what's here," he said. "A few years ago, I got a lawn cart here that was the handiest thing I ever bought."

Linda Duvall, of Westminster, attended the auction with her future daughter-in law, Selena Spellman, who was visiting from Las Vegas.

"They have some great buys and good bargains," Duvall said. "I got a box for the kids to put toys in and I bid on some cat things."

Spellman said she was "eyeing up a few things" and said that if she won during bidding, she would ship the items home.

"We don't have things like this in Las Vegas. You only see things like this on TV shows. It's pretty neat," Spellman said. "You never know what you're going to find. There are a lot of antiques and rare treasures."

George Arbaugh, of Pleasant Valley, said he takes off work every year to come to the auction.

"I love to go to farm sales. I just like to bid on stuff," he said. "I make a list as I walk and figure out what my top bid will be. I probably have over 300 16-scale toy tractors and about 50 real tractors I've collected over the years. Most of them I'm still able to use."

Charles Owings, of Westminster, said he tries to attend the auction every year.


"I'm just selling a couple of pieces. I like all the old equipment and old stuff," he said.

Jeff Frock, of Hanover, Pennsylvania, checked out a McCormick-Deer Inc. corn cultivator.

"I used this when I was a youngster. Some Amish still use it," he explained, adding, "I like to look at the junk and socialize."

Larry Garner, of Glenville, Pennsylvania, also came to socialize and shop.

"I always run into someone I haven't seen in a while," he said. "I'm looking for something I can use on the farm. I have my eye on the blue water tank. It looks brand new. A new one is around $300, so I'm hoping for anything better than that."

Dave Miller, of Westminster, said the auction is a "curiosity."

"I'm just here to look around at some of the lawn mowers," he said. "I have some friends that bring their tractors and I like the country atmosphere. It's curiosity, really. I like to see what things sell for."

Dave Bowen, of Dickerson, said he has attended the auction for several years and enjoys "seeing the antique stuff."

"You never know what you're going to find. At little sales like this you can usually find unusual items at reasonable rates," he said.

Clifton Parker, 86, of Annapolis, said, "There's nothing I don't like" about the auction.

"This is the first year I didn't bring a tractor just because I didn't feel like it," he said with a chuckle.

Parker chatted with his friend, Billy Gertz, 63, who said he just "came to look."

"I've got four or five old tractors I work on to keep them running. At this auction, you can find parts to use to fix them," Gertz said.

James Thompson, of Frederick, has attended the auction for seven years but wasn't having any luck.

"Usually there are some things here I can use but today I don't see anything I don't already have," Thompson said.

James Shehan, of Glen Rock, Pennsylvania, brought his son Jace, 4, to see the auction and Steam Show.

"We're just seeing what we could buy, anything that's a good deal," Shehan said. "We like to look around."

If you go:

What: 2016 Steam Show Days

Where: Carroll County Farm Museum, 500 S. Center St., Westminster

When: September 9: 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Breakfast; 10 a.m. Flag Raising/Opening Ceremony; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Lunch & Dinner; 6 p.m. Tractor Parade, Tractor games take place during the evening. September 10 & September 11: 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Breakfast; 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Worship Services (Sunday Only); 10 a.m. Flag Raising/Opening Ceremony. 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Lunch & Dinner; 11:30 a.m. Saw Mill & Shingle Mill Operation; 12 p.m. Slow Tractor Race; 1 p.m. Antique Truck & Car Parade; 1:30 p.m. Kids Pedal Pull; 2 p.m. Threshing & Baling; 4 p.m. Steam Engine & Tractor Parade. Evening tractor games on Saturday only.

Cost: Admission and parking are free.