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Old Oil and Gas Engines Displayed at 9th Annual Engines and Wheels Festival

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The oil and gas industry is nothing new to West Virginia. The ninth Annual Old Fashioned Engines and Wheels Festival at the North Bend State Park in Ritchie County is proof of that.

People come from all over the Mountain State to show off and explore the engines that powered it all.

"Back then, a lot bigger engines than we use today," said Greg Davis, who owns an old gas well engine.

Greg Davis purchased the very engine that his grandfather used years ago when he worked in the industry.

"My grandpa pumped it back 60 years ago, 60 years ago for Penzoil. I bought it off of the well location and redid it in honor of my grandpa," Davis said.

Just 20 horsepower, it was considered state of the art when conventional wells were the story of West Virginia. But times changed, industry changed, and technology did with it.

Those so-called dinosaur engines couldn't keep up with the oil and gas extraction methods of today.

"Horsepower today, most likely 40-50 horsepower. The wells are a whole lot different today," said Lee Howell, owner of an old-style engine.

Even starting it up has come along way. Operators used to start it up by kicking back the wheels.

"Started it by kicking the fly wheel to the rear. A bunson burner that heats the tube and makes it hot. Then when the gas charge comes in the compression shots into the tube it will fire," Howell said.

While most would say 'out with the old, in with the new,' Howell paints a different picture. He said you can't move forward if you don't know where you came from.

"I think you need to know where you came from to know where you're going," Howell said.

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