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Good Ol' Taylor Days: Bryan and David Armbrust restore vintage tractors

David and Bryan Armbrust pose with their vintage tractors and motors on their farmstead north of Belfield.

Bryan Armbrust from Belfield turned the flywheel several times before the 1917 Rumley Oil Pull started. With his dad at the steering wheel, the tractor powered up ... putt, putt, putt ... with smoke billowing into the sky.

The machine is one of two tractors the Armbrusts have restored and will demonstrate during the 15th annual Good Ol' Taylor Days. The daylong event is Sunday, Sept. 8, at Taylor's Heritage Hill.

"It teaches how everything was run in the ol' days," Bryan said. "We'll have old tractors and stationary motors. There will be threshing, plowing and blacksmith demonstrations and a classic tractor pull."

Bryan is assisting the Taylor Community Activities Inc., which is sponsoring the event. Admission is free.

The schedule includes:

* 10 a.m. -- antique tractor display.

* 10:30 a.m. -- start of tractor drive followed by parade.

* 12:30 p.m. (approximate), parade.

* All day -- demonstrations.

* 3 p.m., antique and classic tractor pull. Weigh-in is 2-3 p.m. Scores will be the distance pulled. Rewards will be bragging rights for a year.

Concessions will be provided by Chad Christ.

A special feature is Armbrust's working replica of Henry Ford's first engine of 1893.

"We also will show how to cut firewood with a 1908 Galloway motor," Bryan said.

Bryan is a truck driver and lives on the farmstead with his wife, Wendy, and parents, David and Dorothy Armbrust, 18 miles north of Belfield.

He and his dad just finished restoring a 1930 Hart Parr tractor, which Bryan will use to demonstrate plowing.

"This one was actually all in pieces when we bought it at an auction sale," he said. "I was bidding against a guy from Belgium. We wanted to keep it in the country."

Bryan has a fascination with the way motors run, and has approximately 100 stationary motors to prove it. Some of them run, others need repairs. It's unlikely two are the same.

"It's surprising how many different kind of engines and tractors there are," Bryan said. "Everybody was making a motor or farm implement to sell."

Bryan finds missing parts at auctions or else his dad will make them.

"I like working with the old iron; it fascinates me," David said.

"I like the mechanics of it, the way they sound, the way the work," Bryan added.

During restoration of the Hart Parr, Armbrusts learned almost everything about the engine was backwards.

"The clutch goes backwards, the throttle was backwards, the pulleys were on the wrong side, the fan blows ahead, the exhaust comes out the front," David said.

The Rumley Oil Pull is David's favorite tractor because of its uniqueness.

"Everybody thinks it's a steam engine because it has a big stack on it," Bryan said. "It's not, it's oil-cooled. Oil is in the radiator instead of water."

Dorothy supports her family's fascination with the old equipment. Highlights for her were when the family displayed the tractors during parades in Belfield and Richardton.

Committee member Sherman Seversen plans to participate in the tractor drive that starts in Taylor, loops south and returns to Taylor at approximately 12:30 p.m. for a parade.

"We average about 10 miles an hour, so it will take about two hours," he said.

The Good Ol' Taylor Days is an opportunity for the old-timers to remember what it was like to farm with the antique equipment, he said.

"There's also a real interest for people who fix up the old tractors and like to do something with them," he added.

For general information about the event, call Bryan at 701-290-6372 or Sherman at 701-260-0264.