The “Dragon” of Mercedino, who now brings joy to the boys and girls of Achiras

Villamercedino’s “Dragon” was a big attraction in the city in the late eighties. Those who were children in those days will remember it with a smile as they were able to take to the streets to bring their music to life. It was abandoned for many years and no one knew more about it, until in 2017 Guillermo Sune and Javier Merino found it and began its restoration. Now it delights children in the town of Achiras in Córdoba, where the new owners live.

“I discovered it in 1988 when my son turned 7 (now over 40). I rented it to the boys to ride around at their party because they knew how to wear it around town in the summer. It was a party, they went crazy. I remember that day they went up and we couldn’t take them down anymore, they stayed until the evening, it was very expensive,” recalls Sune enthusiastically.

After that moment, he lost track of it, although he searched for it for more than twenty years in small farms and similar places, until, unmotivated, he gave up on the idea. “That was until five years ago Javier called me and told me he had found it. I couldn’t believe it, I asked him to take a picture of it. There it is, in a field of reeds at Villa Mercedes, at the back of a house. I asked him to buy it, my blood ran cold because I didn’t even know how much we paid for it, even if I gave what I didn’t have,” said the man.

He said it took a lot of work to get it ready. They disabled it completely, and thus could see the great deterioration that time had caused to the machine; it was irretrievable. It was mounted on the chassis of a truck that was no longer in use and they were able to replace it with one from a city bus, with a different engine and it was flawless.

“We almost gave up, but then began the titanic task of fitting it onto the new structure, which was a meter and a half longer and twenty centimeters wider. The blacksmith’s work was enormous. To be able to move the head, we even had to hire a crane, rebuild the scales, add some new ones with horseshoes and paint it; countless things,” commented Guillermo.

They finally managed to find him last month in Ahiras, just in time for Children’s Day, a date that gave them the strength to continue. The little ones were able to get on board to enjoy a ride along with performances by Plim Plim the Clown and Donald Duck who were on board the ship. It was a day of celebration: families took the opportunity to take pictures and record videos of the historic moment.

“All in all, the dragon is fifty percent of its final design. We haven’t finished the back part where the bar will be. Our idea is that during the day it will function as transport for the boys and at night, a kind of traveling bar; to take people to the river, to see the stars and have a drink. Although there is still plenty of time for that,” said the owner.

He added that although it all started as a game, he was able to fulfill a dream. Plans were expanded and received calls from several interested in renting the attractive. “When I was a kid I had an electric train that my uncles had given me and I loved the idea of ​​being able to get on and ride inside. Now I understand that it’s something like that, it’s a life-size toy and it fulfills that childhood dream that I think we all have, that’s why it generates so much passion,” he concluded.

El Diario contacted Walter Absch, who, together with Claudio Guillaume, was the former owner when the “dragon” roared through the streets of Mercedinas. He said they didn’t build it but bought it in Córdoba from a lady who also has similar figures like a duck and a little train. “Then we also overhauled it again, put a combine motor on it, which had a very peculiar noise because it had to go at low speed. When we took him to Ahiras, they welcomed us with open arms, people were always amazed,” he said.

Time back. Flashback to when they discovered the machine in 2017.

Walter added that during those years, they received permission from the Advisory Council to be able to bring boys and girls from the educational institutions to familiarize themselves with the organization, where they gave talks and exchanged questions of common interest. “We did city trips, the famous timed tour. Later we also went to all the nearby towns, such as Fraga, Justo Daract, La Toma, Naschel, we even reached Santa Rosa. Because they were small places and sometimes the only entertainment there was parents taking the kids and paying them six rounds, they were there the whole time until we left,” he described. The man claims that this activity was maintained until approximately 2013; then they sold it and devoted themselves to something else.

Editorial office / NTV

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