The first Exhibition and Show of the Old Settlers and Threshermen's Association, organized September 14th, 1954, was held at Mexico, Missouri, on Saturday, October 2nd, at the Mexico Fairgrounds.
Sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and endorsed by the Lions and other Civic Clubs, and timed to coincide with the annual Fire Brick and Soybean Show, the event was a decided success. Downtown Mexico was crowded for the parade which preceded the afternoon show an unusual spectacle featuring riding clubs, good horsemanship, ancient vehicles of all sorts, and traction outfits from all over Missouri and the middle west.
Much credit should be and was given our Mr. R. O. Keeton, chairman of the board, who not only 'sold' the idea to his community, but shaped the entire program as well. The Iowa association was represented by Mr. Ray Ernst, of Wayland, Iowa, President of the Midwest Old Settlers and Threshers Association, who brought greetings for the Mt. Pleasant group.
The fairgrounds exhibit was unusually good considering the short time permitted for its arrangement. Antique articles ran the gamut from guns to sausage mills and all the 'things' between. Eleven traction engines participated, along with old and new style seperators, stackers, etc. Included was a horsepower testing machine to lend or to rob the authenticity of owners claims for 'the power' of their separate rigs.
An ancient and unusual sawmill was a featured attraction along with an exhibition of ancient and modern threshing.
More than five-hundred people were in attendance and stayed for the show, despite the fact that a considerable and continuing rainfall made impossible the carrying out of the splendid program scheduled.
While it is impossible to give all the details, or to recall the names of folks, we'd like to mention in connection with the program, we present the following from memory:
The Little Dixie Boots and Saddle Club of Centralia, were present but unable to show; Red the Clown and his trick mule; Corn grinding with ancient burrs; prony brake test; engine race, etc.
Engine exhibitors were as follows: R. O. Keeton, Mexico, 18 hp. Greyhound engine; Fred Hain, Brentwood, 20 hp. Keck-Gonnerman; Ead Gartley, McCredie, Mo., 20 hp Rumley; Marlene and Josie Shanna, New Truxton, 25-75 Russell; Harry Davidson, 60h p. Case; Claude Hazlett, Auxvasse, Mo., Longfellow 19 hp.; Fred Ess, Clark, 19 hp. Keck-Gonnerman; Lawrence Solomon, Moberly, 3 hp. Model engine; Les McKinney, Cairo, Mo., 3 hp. Model engine; Edward Hutsell, Mexico, Advance-Rumley 20 hp.; Henry Groner, Berger, Mo., 22 hp. Keck-Gonnerman.
Among the really distinguished exhibitors were three fine young men, all who had witnessed more than 80 summers, who manned the sawmill and staffed the ancient threshing rig to utmost perfection. They were Mr. Henry Lucksinger, Mr. Ben Ellenrath, and Mr. Dickey, the father of Mexico's favorite mayor. There were others of course, but none who worked harder or contributed quite so much to the show's success.
Ours is not the gift of prophesy we plead guilty to no more than the average intelligence, yet we predict a great and happy future for our association. Folks like the idea and have proven their interest. My own experience indicates that our membership will be limited only by our ability to tell folks about it frankly, they plunk down their dollar with few questions asked. We simply cannot help growing, our future shows will attract far more than we at present know. Let's plan big, think big, and be big! We've got something!
A friend of mine tells me that 'TELL and SELL' simply means 'TOLD and SOLD'! Let's tell 'em what we've got!