The Flint Hills Antique Power Association (FHAPA), based in Emporia, Kansas, and with membership in Lyon and surrounding counties, evolved from the participation of several Kansas Farmers Union (KFU) members with activities developed for the 1997 Lyon County Fair. Principal KFU member organizers included Gary Watts, Raymond and Stan Fowler, Dale and Belle Grimsley, and Veryl Barb. In addition to an antique and vintage tractor display and tractor rides for youngsters, an evening of grandstand activities included a “parade of power,” “slow” race, and a threshing demonstration. Over 1000 persons attended the grandstand show. The following July, 1998, Jim and Sharon Woods hosted an “antique tractor show” and “plow day” on their farm just east of Emporia. Grain binding and threshing were featured, but modern-day harvesting was also demonstrated for those in attendance. Based on that demonstrated interest and success, an organizational meeting was held on January10, 1999 to formally establish what was to be the Flint Hills Antique Power Association, EDGE&TA Branch 107. The stated purpose of the FHAPA is “To promote the collection, restoration, preservation, and exhibition of antique farm tractors, engines, power-driven machinery and other farm equipment. Further, to promote the fellowship of those with common interests.” This preservation of the agricultural heritage also includes those with an interest in ag-related memorabilia and collectibles. Members’ interests and collections reflect the various colors of tractors, engines and implements for the full range of farm equipment manufacturers.
FHAPA is also recognized in the community for its charitable activities and monetary contributions. A pink “Cancer Awareness” tractor (an Allis Chalmers model “C” affectionately known as the “pink tractor”) is a recognized and popular “trademark” of the FHAPA; it brings attention to a serious health problem and has been the basis for a fundraiser to assist other organizations. An example is a $1000 contribution to the Newman Regional Health Center for a state-of-the-art breast cancer diagnostic and treatment unit. Other contributions have been to the “June Bug” fund to assist families with cancer patient-related needs, to area libraries for ag-related children’s books, or to FHAPA-member county historical societies to supplement their museum budgets. A pedal tractor “raffle” in conjunction with the Lyon County Fair also helps to establish a presence in the community. Proceeds from the “raffle,” a contribution box with the pink tractor, and the hook fees at tractor pulls enable these charitable contributions.
The FHAPA annual meeting (in January, and which is a family-based event) with a pot-luck dinner, a summer ice cream social (typically, July, with an all-member meeting), and a barbecue (typically September) are the principal “fellowship” activities for members. Member Rob Gordon provides the barbecue services for the range of beef, chicken, and pork meats featured at the annual meeting and fall barbecue.
Activities hosted annually by the FHAPA have included, in addition to Lyon County Fair activities, participation with entries in several local and regional parades, one or more plow days (often accessible to the public for viewing), grain harvesting and threshing demonstrations (in conjunction with the Fair and plow days), sponsorship of several tractor pulls (or loan of the FHAPA sled and scales for other pull sponsors), and tractor rides (“tractorcades”) by members to other shows, e.g., the Winfield, KS and Ottawa, KS shows.