Large crowds turn out for Pioneer Day Committee’s antique equipment event at Santa Margarita Ranch

NORTH COUNTY — Engines were running, veterans were honored, and families explored as the Best of the West Antique Equipment Show returned Memorial Weekend to support the Paso Robles Pioneer Day Committee. From Thursday, May 25, through Sunday, May 28, collections of tractors and farm equipment were on display at the Santa Margarita Ranch.

“It was amazing,” said Best of the West coordinator Tara Tedeschi. “It was so busy. I think we had one of our busiest days ever on Saturday.”

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Best of the West takes visitors back in time through its machines

Coming back to the show was the Antique Caterpillar Machinery Owner’s Club (AMOC). Founded in 1991, the AMOC has members all over the world. Several countries participated in AMOC’s showing at Best of the West. Locals from around the county and even folks from across the nation brought equipment and tractors from various decades, becoming a timeline of the mechanized progress of 20th-century America. Of course, none of this would be possible without the help of JB Dewar, who donated fuel for the show.


Sold-out food and drink over the weekend was a good indicator of how successful the event was. The San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau returned with its booth.

“We sell tri-tip and pulled pork sandwiches as a fundraiser for Farm Bureau, but it’s really about supporting the community and the Pioneer Day Committee folks who organize Best of the West,” Farm Bureau Executive Director Brent Burchett said. “Thank you to everyone who stopped by our booth for lunch, and a big thank you to our Farm Bureau members who volunteered all weekend to barbecue.”

While there was no gold panning or staged robberies on the train rides, they were hardly missed as good weather and plenty of other fun-filled activites were enjoyed by visitors. According to Tedeschi, the weekend went smoothly, and there was a record number of campers. 

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Tiffany Tedeschi sings the national anthem to kick off the Best of the West Antique Equipment Show at Santa Margarita Ranch. Photo by Rick Evans

The Best of the West Antique Equipment Show is a Paso Robles Pioneer Day Committee and Rossi Foundation event. Santa Margarita Ranch poses as the perfect location to enjoy a family gathering outside and teach the younger generations about the heritage of our area.

At Best of the West, visitors went back in time in more ways than one. The Santa Margarita Ranch steam engine train holds plenty of history itself: It was featured in the TV show “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” and was one of the passenger coaches from Santa Fe and Disneyland Railroad from the 1950s. 

“It’s amazing that we have a piece of Disney history right here on the Central Coast,” added Tedeschi.

At noon each day, all operations paused for a military salute, singing of the national anthem, and a flyover by the Tiger Squadron. Singing the national anthem were Tiffany Tedeschi, Carly Wilkins, and Morgan McIntyre, and the Nipomo Bagpipers showed up to play a few songs. Former Roblan of the Year Mark Perry gave the invocation daily during the show and Tom Harrington was the guest speaker.

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Best of the West takes visitors back in time through its machines

“It was neat to see the community come out and support the event and have fun,” said Tedeschi.

Representatives from Farm Supply helped in the Kid’s Corral with butter churning and roping lessons. Throughout the day, guests enjoyed a tractor parade, earthmoving demo, plowing demo, blacksmithing, and much more. 

Unfortunately, this year there were no public school field trips which is usually an annual and educational tradition. Best of the West coordinators are looking forward to reaching out to some local schools later this year to book field trips for next year’s show. Any schools interested in scheduling a field trip are free to reach out to Best of the West coordinators at

Tedeschi thanked all the volunteers and sponsors that work to make this show happen: “It takes so many volunteers, so many hours, not just the week of the show but leading up to it to put on a successful show like that.”

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Best of the West takes visitors back in time through its machines

While the show emphasizes the importance and history of agriculture, coordinators and participants of the show took time to remember what the Memorial Day weekend is about.

“This is a special event for our Farm Bureau each year,” said Burchett. “We enjoy seeing all the old tractors and equipment in action, but the organizers do a great job reminding everyone about what Memorial Day is all about — remembering the men and women who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom.”

While there isn’t a tallied profit from the show yet, Tedeschi estimates that with the increased community involvement, they could have surpassed last year’s profits.

For more information on the Best of the West Antique Tractor Show, visit 

Photos by Rick Evans