As part of our celebration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of our Steam and Gas Engine Show Directory this year, we invited clubs to send us pictures that might indicate the history of their shows. One such response came from John Boyens of 3919 Greenbrier Drive, Bettendorf, IA 52722. We didn't have room in the directory for the full story, so we decided to use it in IMA.
Last fall, the Antique Engine and Tractor Association, Inc. had their 37th show. The origins of the organization date back to the late 1950s when several area enthusiasts interested in preserving early power farming history would meet occasionally on an informal basis to share their common interest. Their first attempt at an organized show was in 1960, in the city park in Geneseo, Illinois.
News clippings from the 1965 show, held at the Ronnie Miller farm near Geneseo, showed pictures of various exhibitors. Linden Meir exhibited a 1915 Reeves steam engine, and Lloyd Lehman showed a steam engine he'd built. Twenty members of the club (then a branch of the Early Day Gas Engine & Tractor Association) had prepared 20 acres of oats for steam threshing at the Miller farm.
A poster for the 1968 show indicates that the club had moved to the Hickory Grove Camp Grounds. At that time, Leon Jontz was president, Roy Carpenter secretary.
In June of 1971, the show featured among other things the Miller brothers (Homer and Doug) of Mal-vern cutting wood with their 1915 6 HP Galloway wood saw, at the Ivan Wildemuth Farm.
Woodgum 6 HP portable shown with all wood Adams corn shelter, patented November 1904. Under power at the 1992 Antique Engine & Tractor Association Inc. Show in Atkinson, Illinois.
A July 1974 article advertises that the show was again held at the Ivan Wildemuth farm between Geneseo and Atkinson. This time the show boasted 25 antique cars in addition to the steam traction engines, tractors and gas engines. A flea market had also been added, and Don King was president.
The current show grounds near Atkinson have been home of the show since 1982. Since that time a storage and meeting building and modern restrooms have been constructed with other improvements planned for the future.
A note on the show book from 1998 lets prospective members know, 'Antique Engine and Tractor Association is always looking for new members. It is not necessary to own equipment to belong to this organization, but only to be interested in preserving our agricultural heritage.'
We wish the folks in Atkinson continued success as they ready for their 38th show this summer, to be held September 17, 18 and 19, 1999 a quarter mile north of Atkinson. For additional information, call Fred Stickler, 309-796-0429.
The club will also host a swap meet on May 8, 1999.