Clayton Sidlick shows off a bright red 1952 Cockshutt tractor

Clayton Sidlick shows off a bright red 1952 Cockshutt tractor

Tough trucks, tough tractors

A mix of old and new, Luxton Fall Fair celebrates 101 years

A mix of old and new, Luxton Fall Fair celebrates 101 years

Chugging along with high speed belts and spiked metal rollers, Clayton Sidlick has yet to lose a finger in the vintage 1920s threshing machine.

Each year at the Luxton Fall Fair, Sidlick loads oats harvested in Metchosin into the “widow maker” machine, an old device that separates seed from the chafe.

He knows his way around an antique thresher and enjoys giving people a handful of fresh oats. They always give him a puzzled look.

“They say, ‘What do we do with that?’ Then I ask them if they’ve ever had a bowl of oatmeal,” Sidlick chuckled.

Sidlick has volunteered at the fair for the past 33 years because he loves it. He spends the day minding the thresher in the field with other antique farm equipment, such as the Sawyer-Massey steam tractors.

Antique equipment upkeep, quilt making, cow milking and blacksmithing will bump up against the smell of cotton candy and the sounds of carnival games for this weekend’s 101st Luxton fair.

“People can come here so they will know the history of the West Shore community,” said volunteer Ian McKenzie. “Life was a lot harder back then.”

During the weekend fair McKenzie will spend his time among the historical displays, talking to fairgoers about the exhibits. To help connect an increasingly  urban population with the rural history of the area, McKenzie is helping organize a gardening contest this year, which will take the place of the horticultural display.

“I like telling people about (our rural history) and helping then understand what it’s all about,” McKenzie said.

A 10 year volunteer, McKenzie enjoys the community aspect of the fair more than the rides and food, but he will sneak away to get a corn on the cob. “It’s a whole grain,” McKenzie smiled.

For people who like their fairs a bit more modern, there are plenty of carnival games and rides. Thrill seekers can be locked in the cage of the Zipper or dare to try the assortment of high flying rides.

In the Luxton arena, the popular jacked up 4x4s try to climb seemingly insurmountable obstacles for the popular Tough Truck Challenge.

“Horse power always attracts an audience,” said Zillah Erickson, the tough trucks volunteer organizer. “We are the only registered fair in B.C. that has an off road truck event.”

Boulders, logs and five-foot diametre cement pipes provide the obstacles, but the bravado of mainly young male drivers delivers the entertainment.

In it’s fifth year, the course has been rejigged to keep drivers and audiences on their toes.

The crowds keep coming back to see, “who can maneuver over the obstacles and the carnage that happens,” Erickson said.

Not all trucks are tough enough to endure the gruelling combat course and Erickson said it’s not uncommon to see a rollover or a gas tank go up in flames. “That one’s on YouTube,” she joked.

Anyone with a 4×4 truck who wants to give the course a try can sign up at the fair. “It’s an open invitation,” Erickson said.

The Tough Truck Challenge starts at 11 a.m. on Sept. 17 and 18.

Admission to the fair grounds if free but to enter the tough trucks show. The admission fee is $15 adults, $10 seniors and youth 11-18 and children 10 and under are free.

See www.luxtonfair.ca for a full schedule of events and entertainment.

reporter@goldstreamgazette.com