A few months ago, I acquired a sweet running but rusty 1951 LeRoi Centaur Tractor. Wanting to show this rare machine at the car and tractor show at the Liberty Day Celebration in our local hometown, we spent long hours scraping and brushing fifty years of rust and grease away. Finally, the shiny new paint was applied and I thought “LeRoi” was ready for his first appearance. How was I to know that he was going to get stage fright at the last minute.
Months of preparation behind us LeRoi was finally ready on the Friday before the show. I drove him out of the shop for a good bath. After washing I decided to back into the shop to dry him off. Not wanting to sit on a wet seat, I stood up on one foot working the clutch with the other as I backed down the slope into the shop. But, when I pushed the clutch in to stop LeRoi got faster! I released the clutch and stomped the brake to stall him. WRONG MOVE!!!!! We knocked over the band saw and mashed the garbage can into the back wall of the shop before I could get seated and use both feet on the pedals. Luckily though the only damage was one smashed garbage can and a wet butt.
Saturday morning, six a. m., excited about our first show I’m up early getting ready. I hook up to my trailer, pull out into the drive and walk down to the shop to get LeRoi, and for the first time since I got him we have a problem. HE WON’T CRANK!! After some checking, I found water in the ignition from his wash job. Guess LeRoi doesn’t like baths! After drying the distributor out, he fires right up. I drove up the hill and onto the trailer, then shut off the gas valve and let the gas run out of the carburetor so it wouldn’t leak during traveling.
Then, I started to the front of the trailer to get the tie-down straps and noticed that the front tire was a little low. Okay that’s an easy fix just back into the shop and air it up right. Not today!
I fired up the truck and started to back to the shop when I saw LeRoi move a little on the trailer. Uh oh, I forgot to put him in gear after running the gas out. I touched the brakes and ZIP!!!! LeRoi is going home! He shoots backwards off the trailer, down the hill towards the shop. As he rolls the fifty feet to the shop the wheels turn just enough to almost center the doorway. Notice that I said almost. CRASH!!!!!!! The rear tire hits the air compressor, driving it into the table saw which sent the table saw crashing into the work bench before everything stopped falling.
You ever had that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach. I did when I walked down to the shop to survey the damage. I guess God watches over old fools and their tractors, because the only damage was a scratched air compressor and a badly bruised ego. After untangling the mess, I loaded up one more time and this time I tied it down.
We managed to get to the tractor show without anymore mishaps, and had the best time showing off our little oddball.
Now we can’t wait until the next show!
Rick Morgan, AL, entered 2002-07-15
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