R3 Valley Center, Kansas 67147
The excitement was high as Jim Thomas of Graford, Texas established the rules for the fast and slow model steam traction engine races at Terning's 13th annual Steam and Gas Engine Show located in Valley Center, Kansas. Jim also went on to clarify that the 'big race' was actually in Valley Center, Kansas over the Labor Day weekend and not in Indiana over the Memorial Day weekend as some people had previously thought. He just wanted to make sure that in 1991 everyone had the right weekend, because at the 14th annual show there would be a reunion of not only the Case models that have been built in Kansas since 1947, but a grand model show of steam and gas engines of any size, shape, or model. As Jim exclaimed, 'that will be something to see.'
The rules for the fast race are fairly simple the first one over the finish line is the winner. Seemed easy enough, and the winner was easy enough to pick out as well. Joe Heath of Florence, Kansas with his awesome Avery model won hands down. On Monday Joe elected to stay out of the race to give someone else a chance! Thanks, Joe!! Charlie Burkhardt of Wichita, Kansas won this fast race with his model Case.
The slow race is where things get a bit more complicated. Jim went on to explain' your flywheel must keep moving and you must be the LAST one across the finish line.' Now this seemed simple enough to the spectators, however, if you have ever operated a steam traction engine you know full well it is not an easy task.
Royce Chambers of Hugo, Co., goes up the Case wooden incline with Tom Terning. This was Royce's first time up; word has it his knuckles were a bit white from hanging on.
Before the race began, Jim introduced the participants. They were as follows (it is a bit difficult to make them out on the photo, but believe me, they are in the line-up somewhere):
On his quarter scale Case was Bill Ward of Wichita. Chad Vogt of Valley Center and Derick Williams of Wichita were operating a half scale Case owned by Dick Burd of Canton, South Dakota. Charlie Burkhardt was operating his Case model. Dave Sebits of Hesston, Kansas on his half-scale Case. Bud Flowers of Litchfield, Minnesota operated his half-scale Case model. Joe Heath of Florence, Kansas was on his model Avery. Jim Hijek from Medford, Oklahoma operated his half-scale Case. Sam Holmes of Valley Center operated a half-scale Case owned by Mahlon Giffin of Sedgwick, Kansas. David Carpenter from Paris, Texas operated his half-scale Case. The 'new kid on the block' was Mel Muhlhausen from Red Wing, Minnesota. Mel had just completed his engine several days before the show. This was quite evident because of all the buttons that were seen popping off his shirt!! There were some very 'seasoned' engineers taking their place in this line-up. However, in this case having a few gray hairs on your head did not guarantee you a win. On the contrary, Chad Vogt and Sam Holmes were the youngest engineers and they took the honors, Sam on Saturday and Chad on Sunday. When Monday rolled around, both Chad and Sam were so keyed up and concentrating so hard on their engines they failed to notice that Mel Muhlhausen was concentrating even harder and Mel came up being Monday's winner. Everyone said they will be sharpening up their skills for the 1991 show, so it will be up for grabs.
See you all Labor Day weekend!