First J.I. Case Heritage Exposition:

An Overwhelming Experience

Crosby chime whistle

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204 East Melbourne Avenue, Silver Spring, Maryland 20901

A Photo Report

For a writer, it's difficult to admit that any event is so large and successful that it defies description. I am a writer, and I am telling you there is simply not space enough anywhere to describe adequately the a heritage 'happening' on May 1-3, 1987 at Pawnee, Oklahoma.

The event was the first International J. I. Case Heritage Exposition; and, even for people who are not loyal followers of the Case line, this was a magnificent occasion with beautiful weather, flags flying, dozens of steam traction engines on the move, scores of antique gas tractors lined up and in action, whistles blowing, machines at work, a great gathering of wonderful people from across the whole United States and Canada, a powwow of Old Case cars (all in running condition), beautiful models (scale models of engines and machines, not pin-ups!) and much, much more.

A sage once said 'a picture is worth on thousand words.' On that premise, this writer will do little writing in this report and will let photos of the 1987 Case Heritage Exposition do most of the story-telling.

Giving credit where credit is most certainly due, much praise for the Expo's success must go to members of the Oklahoma Steam and Gas Threshers' Association, which hosted the event in cooperation with the recently established International J. I. Case Heritage Foundation. Success also was dependent upon the hard work of a broad-based group of people knitted together last fall at the Western Minnesota Threshers' Reunion in Rollag and called the International J. I. Case Heritage Steering Committee. Steer, they did, and very well!

In between the two and no doubt sometimes feeling the squeeze were Kenneth and Minerva Kelley, who were hosts at their place in Pawnee for the Case Heritage Foundation's Barbecue and first Membership Meeting. Special helping hands came from afar (Racine, Wisconsin!) from the J.I. Case Company, which presented awards for Expo exhibitors traveling the greatest distance to Pawnee and was ably represented by two greatly admired Case Men, Harry Kline (who kindly brought old J.I.'s Ground Hog Thresher, two vintage Case factory whistles and other fine exhibits) and Bill Simpson (who brought himself, and that's a large package of knowledge and congeniality). They were accompanied at Pawnee by the Case Company's friendly, enthusiastic and most helpful Public Relations Manager, Rick James.

The 12-inch Crosby chime whistle, which used to sound off over the Case factory in Racine, Wisconsin, provided some special 'music to the ears' for steam whistle-lovers (who isn't?) at the Expo.

To mention anyone else would involve running the risk of leaving out many important people who contributed so importantly to the success of the first Case Heritage Expo.

It is said, 'All good things must come to an end.' After three great days, the party in Pawnee was over. But, the beat goes on and there is some more good news to report, to wit:

1The International J. I. Case Heritage Foundation signed up several hundred members and, with subsequent additions to its membership roll from all over North America is well on its way to becoming one of the world's premier heritage organizations.

2A date and place for the 1988 International J. I. Case Heritage Exposition are already set. That will be Wednesday-through-Saturday, August 17-20, at Kinzers, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where the Case Expo will be held in conjunction with the Rough and Tumble Engineers Historical Association's 40th anniversary show. Kinzers is in the heart of the beautiful Pennsylvania Dutch Country, one of the great cradles of American agriculture.

3The Foundation's Board already has settled on Rollag, Minnesota, for the 1992 event and hopes to soon work out plans for a Case Heritage Expo in Canada, where Foundation membership is growing rapidly.

Persons interested in joining the Foundation and learning more about future Case Heritage Expos/activities or desiring to find out about procedures for the selection of future Case Expo sites should contact the Secretary, Case Heritage Foundation, 204 East Melbourne Avenue, Silver Spring, Maryland 20901.

Arthur P. 'Brig' Brigham is a public relations consultant and former newspaperman. His wife Helen Case Brigham is a great granddaughter of J. I. Case.

A centerpiece in the Case Expo tent was sign from the Rockford, IL Case plant, restored by Ray Knudson of Davis Junction, IL and brought to Pawnee by George Hedtke, pictured.

The traditional Case Eagle and a unique neon Case sign were displayed by Tommy Forman of Stillwater, OK, who also worked long, hard hours as show registration chairman.

Joe Ertl, toy maker par excellence, was all smiles as visitors admired models prepared especially to commemorate the first Case Expo.

Bob Porth and his son, Jason, prepare to unload their 1938 Model R Case tractor after their 1,000-mile trek from Regina, Saskatchewan, to Pawnee. The Oklahoma Association's Chady Atteberry stands by to offer a helping hand.

Bill Simpson, right, Product Information Officer for the JI Case Company and one of the company's most widely known ambassadors, spreads good will to friends at Expo.

A model threshing machine displayed by John Chitwood of Conway Springs KS is foreground for an impressive line of Case steam traction engines (from 100 HP down to six!) gathered for the 1987 Expo.

Seldom, if ever seen before was this year's featured twice daily double-header' climb on the 50% incline. First up is Tom Terning, Valley Center, KS and his 40 HP, followed by Chady Atteberry, Blackwell, OK and his 40 HP 'Elgin Watch' Chady's passenger is Helen Case Brigham.

Scale model Case engines that could pulled up in front of Kenneth Kelley's 110 HP Case. They are owned and ridden by Vern Neitzke, left, who brought his 1/3-scale 1915 65 HP 800 miles from Grand Blanc, MI, and Russ Logan (1/3-scale 1912 65 HP) and wife Pat who came 1,100 miles from Sunrise, FL.

Tom Gingell's 1920 Case 50 HP steam traction engine on the move with lots of happy kids at the Expo. The engine and owner hail from Emmitsburg, MD and no doubt will be doing their thing again at Case Heritage Expo #2 in Kinzers. Gingell won an award at Pawnee for traveling the farthest, about 1,300 miles to participate. Photo by Billy Howell for the Pawnee (OK) Chief Newspaper.

J I Case Co. awards were given to these exhibitors for coming the longest distances. Left to right, they are: Tom Gingell, Emmitsburg, MD, steam traction engine, 1,020 miles; Tony Wells, Upper Marlboro, MD, Case dealer/exhibitor (Case car and 2 antique gas tractors) 1,050 miles; Jason and Bob Porth, Regina, Sask., gas tractor, 950 miles; and Russ Logan, Sunrise, FL, scale model steam engine (1/3 scale 1912 65 HP), 800 miles. Another winner, Harold Musolf, Seattle, WA, 1350 miles, is not pictured here.

Director Otis Astle shares his Rough and Tumble Engineers cap with the Case eagle. Otis will be a key member of the 'home' team preparing for the 1988 Case Heritage Expo at Kinzers next August 17-20.

Other individuals on this page are Case Heritage Foundation directors Kevin Anderson, Andover, SD; Jack Beamish, Hammiota, Man., and charter president, Jim Briden, Fargo, ND.

Tony Wells, Upper Marlboro, MD, George Hedtke, Davis Junction, IL, Helen Case Brigham, Tommy Lee, Calhoun, KY, Chady Atteberry, Blackwell, OK and Kenneth Kelley, Pawnee, OK.