Darke County Steam Threshers Association Show

23-90 Baket plowing

Kim Besecker's 23-90 Baket plowing.

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9338 Pitsburg-Laura Road Arcanum, Ohio 45304

The Darke County Steam Threshers is well into planning its 45th Reunion for the 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 of July, 2001. This will be the third year at our own show grounds, so I thought I would give everyone an update of our 2000 Reunion, our progress, and a sneak preview of some of the activities for the 2001 Reunion.

The Darke County Steam Threshers has always been well-known for its active engineers and equipment operators. Our show facilities have been designed to support easy access to activities for both the spectator and the engineer. We raise six to nine acres of wheat right in the show area. We leave approximately one acre standing to cut during the show. We are the only show that I know of in the state that does this; it has become quite an attraction.

Our threshing machines were a 32' hand fed Advance owned by David Kemler of Stanton, Michigan; 33' Baker separator owned by Bob Mattis and operated by his dad, Kenny of Westmilton, Ohio; 28' John Deere owned and operated by John Holp of Arcanum, Ohio.

We have been complimented many, many times on our sawmill operation, as being one of the most organized and efficient that has been seen. We must thank Tom Stephens of Stephens Lumber for providing 100-plus logs and sawing his production orders on our mill, as well as the directors and engineers that make up Tom's Sawmill crew every year. It is people like these that make a show, enjoyable to watch for hours.

We also have ten-plus acres that are used for our plowing demonstration. We would like to thank the Lavy family for letting us use their newly restored 12-bottom John Deere gang plow this year. We hope to see it in action at the 2001 show. It was a sight to see the engines pulling this plow. Howard Miller and John Holp put on a nice exhibition of double heading all 12 bottoms with two 20 HP Advances.

See in front with John Holp, Jr., and Jeff Holp on engine; Howard Miller's 20 HP Advance in rear, Howard is operator. Pulling the Lavy Family's 12-bottom John Deere plow.

Our other activities include a Prony brake, hydraulic Dynamometer, two Power Eaters provided by John McDowell and Howard Miller; Baker fan; and a hill climb that will give any engineer's skills a test. One of our best and most humorous exhibitions is the steam engine fast race. To watch the engineers in the lineup getting ready is where the humor comes in. Come see for yourself.

Our nightly spark shows are truly something to see. Ask anyone who's been there to see them. David Soll-ram's 20 HP Russell, Jim Lashaway's 16 HP Russell, Leroy Lashaway's 16 HP Frick, Kevin Hayslett's 20 HP Keck Gonnerman, Dave Riggs, 20 HP Frick have put on some fine spark shows to everyone's delight.

Our 2000 show featured John Deere farm equipment. We had a fine collection of rare John Deere pieces, one of them being a combine harvester owned by the Clifton family of Greenville, Ohio. We had the privilege of seeing it operate for the first time in over forty years.

We had a fine collection of many other makes of tractors, as well. All of those gentlemen had a great time, threshing wheat, using the Dynamometer, plowing, discing wheat stubble. They also pulled transport wagons for people to see the activities that make you weary walking.

Our twelve acres of natural woods is home to our nearly 100 farm markets, 30 food concessions, 150-plus tractors, and gas engines too numerous to count.

Another attraction at our 2000 show was our first draft horse and pony pull. This event went over quite well. We will be discussing doing this again in the future. This event complements the several draft horse teams that pull our wheat wagons, now transport wagons. Just as people did in the part of history we work to preserve.

We have completed our new restroom and shower facilities. We also have a new toy to test the skills of tractor and steam engine operators alike, a teeter-totter to balance your equipment.

Which leads me to a couple of new activities for the 2001 show. It has been a few years since we have had any friendly competition, so we are planning a belting contest for best time and if you don't do well, we will be having a balance your equipment for time competition. So practice this spring. Get to know your equipment after the long winter is over.

I must take this opportunity to express our deepest thanks to the officers, directors and some of the fine engineers of the Pioneer Engineer Club of Rushville, Indiana. They have supported us with equipment and manpower for both the development of our new grounds and the activities of our show.

I hope everyone will enjoy the pictures. Please join us at the 'York' Woods for our 2001 show. Hope to see you there!