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Griffith set to bring rare tractor to Medora Car Show

This photo shows Ken Griffith's Power Horse tractor, with buggy hooked up in tow.

Ken Griffith has been to car shows before. But he may bring his most unique piece yet to the Medora Car Show on Saturday.

Griffith will be coming from Baker, Mont., to show off his 2,500-pound Power Horse, which in essence, is a tractor.

What makes the Power Horse so different from all other tractors is that it isn't controlled by a wheel, but by reins.

Another unusual feature of a Power Horse is that there isn't even a seat for the driver. Instead, people may follow the tractor with horse-drawn equipment or even follow it on foot. For his Power Horse, Griffith attached a buggy to sit in while steering his tractor.

"They were made to replace your horses so that you didn't have to build new farm equipment," Griffith said. "They're not an electric start. You've got to crank them to start them."

Companies started to design this type of tractor in the early 1900s. Their purpose was to pull horse-drawn equipment.

According to a 1999 article in Farm Collector magazine, many farmers of the time were leery of the design, which may have been one reason why the product never sold enough to continue its production.

The Power Horse's design may also have been just ahead of the times, as the concept is still used today with Bobcat products.

"They operate the same way," Griffith said. "If you push both levers ahead, it goes forward. If you pull them both back, it goes reverse. If you want to turn, (push) one forward and (pull) one back, whichever way you want to turn."

The Montana native isn't sure what year his Power Horse was made. However, he does know that it came from before World War II, which was when companies stopped making Power Horses.

"I learned about them several years ago and I've been trying to buy one ever since then," Griffith said. "Every time I found one for sale, it was already sold or he wouldn't sell it."

This Saturday will be the first time Griffith will show his prize at a car show, as he only got the Power Horse earlier this month. In fact, he hadn't even taken the tractor out for a spin until Friday. But Griffith said it doesn't take much to get used to it.

"I haven't had it very long," Griffith said. "It's easy to do. They're just like a horse. Each little thing has its own little quirks."

Griffith, who is a member of G&G Garbage, said that there are less than 100 models of the Power Horse -- and he owns two of them.

"This guy (that I bought it from) had four of them for sale, and I bought two of them," Griffith said.

Griffith is also the proud owner of other vehicles as well. While this will be the debut for him and his Power Horse, Griffith has been to car shows throughout the past decade.

"I have all kinds of stuff," Griffith said. "(I've been going to car shows) with my own cars probably since 2003."