'American Pickers' visit farm in Ridgefield

Episode of reality show focuses on steam engines, airs tonight

By Stover E. Harger III, Columbian neighborhood news coordinator

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Tonight's episode of an antique hunters reality series will feature Schurman's Iron Ranch, a 25-acre Ridgefield farm packed with metallic relics and collectible curios.

The History Channel's "American Pickers" is about two men, Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz, who "scour the country's junkyards, basements and barns for hidden gems," according to the show's website.

The episode featuring Schurman's Iron Ranch, currently closed for winter, will premiere at 9 p.m. tonight. A preview of the episode titled "Full Steam Ahead" mentions that while traveling across Washington, the co-stars of "American Pickers," self-described "modern archaeologists," visit "a property packed with amazing steam engines and rusty relics."

Iron Ranch owner Alan Schurman said the show's crew spent a long time picking through his "boneyard" in midsummer, scouring the property's eight buildings that house collections of antique tractors, machinery, motorcycles and tools. He said the show bought about $6,000 of antiques from him, including clocks, a rare bicycle frame, a 100-year-old car motor and more.

"Our place is big enough; it took all day," he said. "They found some stuff. It was fun."

Iron Ranch hosts the annual Clark County Rural Heritage Fair in July, sponsored by the Fort Vancouver Antique Equipment Association.

Schurman said he was told by producers his property wouldn't be named in the show and he's just fine with that, considering he likes to keep visitors down to a minimum. While he doesn't operate a commercial lot, he does do some sales and trading, and occasionally lets other collectors stop by and take a look.

"This is a personal collection," he said. "That's kind of the way I like to keep it, too."