The antique car and tractor show held Saturday in downtown Tarboro to support the Edgeeombe County Military Veterans Museum didn’t draw a large crowd, but those who were there were passionate about the cause.
The goal of the event was to raise money for the museum, which preserves the memories of Edgecombe County veterans.
Rob Deen of Oak City was one of the veterans numbered among the show’s 22 entrants. A veteran of the U.S. Navy, Deen brought out his rare 1951 Gibson Super D2 tractor. Deen’s grandfather Robert “Bob” Farnham, a Pearl Harbor survivor, bought the tractor in Seattle for his 14-acre farm in Washington after World War II ended.
“I just finished restoring it last week,” said Deen, admiring the shiny red tractor. “It’s a family heirloom and the story behind him (grandfather) kind of matched for the day.”
Deen said his grandfather had a saying about his World War II experiences:
“That was when a 17-year-old brave gung-ho American turned into a 17-year-old scared kid.”
Another veteran at Saturday’s show, Pete Outlaw of Nashville, still has a reminder of his time of service with the U.S. Army in Vietnam. He was exposed to Agent Orange, developed throat cancer as a result and now has to speak with a voice prosthesis. Outlaw said he was happy to bring out his red 1932 Ford to the show to support the veterans’ museum.
“I love to help the veterans in any way I can,” he said.
Danny Cobb of Tarboro said he brought out his green 1972 Dodge Dart Swinger to the show to pay tribute to the veterans for “supporting our country, keeping our freedom.”
“My father was a war vet in the Korean War. He was in the Army,” Cobb said.
Others entered Saturday’s show simply for a love of antique cars. Thomas Jackson of Rocky Mount beamed with pride as he showed off his red 1955 Chevy Bel Air.
“I’ve had it since I was 19. It’s my first car,” Jackson said. He did all of the restoration/ customization work on the car except the interior.
“I’ve been having fun out here today,” he said. “It’s a good atmosphere.”
The show drew an older crowd, for the most part, but when asked if he liked antique cars, one member of the younger generation responded affirmatively.
“I do. It’s interesting,” said Jackson Lewis, 10, of Tarboro. Lewis admired a blue 1955 Chevy hardtop owned by John Rogerson of Williamston.
Lewis said he liked that the car is “old-school” and its blue color, which reminded him of his favorite basketball and football team – the SouthWest Cougar Cubs.
Ellis Cullifer, a member of the Edgecombe County Veterans’ Military Museum board of directors, said the light turnout at Saturday’s show won’t hinder the group from doing the event next year.
“We’ll do it again,” he said. “It’s all volunteer, so any dollar that we make, it’s a dollar earned for the museum.”