Letting Off Steam

Tending to threshing duties at the 2005 Michigan Steam Engine and Threshers Club show

Tending to threshing duties at the 2005 Michigan Steam Engine and Threshers Club show in Mason, Mich. (Photo courtesy Mark Corson.)

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Hard as it is, it's time to admit the 2005 steam season is over. Fortunately, there's another round of shows coming our way in 2006.

We're working away at the 2006 Farm Collector Show Directory, and judging by our updates and new listings, 2006 will be another banner year for farm shows. Last year's directory had a record 1,450 shows listed, and it looks like we'll see the same number for the next season.

While our equipment may be getting older, it appears it's not getting any less popular.

In the early days of threshing reunions and farm shows, the vast majority of folks taking in the sights and sounds of steam engines barking and threshers whirring had a direct connection to the rural landscape and culture.

As the number of family farms decreases, so does the number of people with any ties to rural life. No longer even a distant memory, the farm and the notion of farm life becomes a foreign concept.

Oddly enough, I think that's one element that's helping drive interest and attendance at steam reunions and farm shows.

From discussions I've had with attendees at various shows, I've found that many people find farm life, and particularly farm life past, an exotic and intriguing subject.

Regardless of their appreciation for the amount of work it takes to run a farm, they find the idea of an independent and self-sustaining lifestyle compelling, and the farm shows we put on give them a window into a past many of them wish they had some connection to.

Most of these folks will never make a transition to the farm, of course, but at our shows they can tranport themselves to another time and place, imagining a simpler, better life of hard work and good community.

The 2006 Farm Collector Show Directory will be available in mid-February. You can order yours at www.FarmCollectorShowDirectory.com, or by calling (800) 678-4883. We'll see you at the shows.

Richard Backus
Editor
rbackus@ogdenpubs.com

STEAM TRACTION

CONTINUING THE TRADITION OF IRON-MEN ALBUM

U.S.P.S. #012700

Founded in 1946 by Rev. Elmer Ritzman. Published Six Times a Year - Jan., March, May, July, Sept. and Nov.

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Steam Traction is published every other month by Ogden Publications Inc.
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