For the thousands who attend antique farm equipment shows each summer, it's all about fun. But for a show volunteer, it's a good deal closer to work.
Horses and a vintage steamer are used alternately to power the sorghum press. The juice extracted from sweet sorghum cane is cooked down to a dark, thick syrup by the Heaton family.
Ted Hunter has as much fun watching spectators as he does operating this 1937 Northwest quarry shovel.
Volunteers passing the torch to a new generation: Guided tractor rides are a hit with small fry.
For the Heaton family, cooking sorghum at the Midwest Old Threshers Reunion is a longstanding family tradition. Left to right: Bob Heaton, his sister, Nancy Heaton; nephews Clint and Ryan Welch, and Bob and Nancy's sister, Betty Jo Kennedy. Bob began operating a steam engine at the show when he was 12; Nancy's first visit to Mt. Pleasant came when she was 5 days old.
Alice Rohrssen, an operator at the Midwest Old Threshers Reunion steam power house, with a unit produced by Vilter Mfg. Co., Milwaukee. "This was used to pump ammonia," she says. "It ran continually from 1908 to the 1950s, when it was retired, and never failed once."
The Midwest Electric Railway at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, carries significant commuter traffic from campgrounds to the show, but also ferries visitors from the show to the Log Village, a rustic frontier exhibit at the far end of the show grounds.
Ted Hunter has near complete responsibility for a 1937 Northwest Quarry Shovel at Mt. Pleasant.
Bob Gael is one of 100 volunteers who keep the Midwest Electric Railway running. Volunteers in that program come from Maine, Massachusetts, Virginia, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Texas and Colorado. "It really is a reunion," Bob muses. "These people are a family."