You could never get tired of hearing about the Mt. Pleasant (Iowa) Midwest Old Threshers Reunion and its steam engines. A place where people come not only to see the best in antique machinery, but also to reunite with old friends, the reunion is an experience that can only be described as going back in time to the good old farm days.
The 2006 show was my second year at Mt. Pleasant. Coming from a farm background, I long for those good old farm days: Life just seemed so much better on the farm. I don’t know how to explain it, but once you have farming blood in your veins it never leaves.
As for the people at the show, they are great – from the volunteers, to the exhibitors, to the spectators. It’s like a farm family. Everyone is helpful, friendly and happy.
This year I made an effort to snap some photos of the steam engines. When I was growing up we never owned a steam engine. My dad and grandpa went from horse-drawn implements to gas tractors. I can remember the old wagons in my grandpa’s barn to this day, and I can just imagine what they would have done with a monstrous steam engine.
In review of the reunion, lets start with Larry Nelson, Muscatine, Iowa. He is the proud owner of a 1908 Colean 30 HP, no. 436, steam engine. He actually owns three of the five Coleans known to exist. Larry’s other two Coleans are an 18 HP and a 25 HP. Kent Graham, Bennett, Iowa, was operating the Colean during the 2006 Old Threshers Reunion. Kent began his steam career in 1968 when he started attending shows with his parents. He has two daughters who are seriously involved with steam engines. He noted one daughter is 14 years old, which he thinks is great, since he owns three steam engines himself.
Matt Birky, Solon, Iowa, has been operating steam engines for 20 years. He had the honor of operating Mel and Judy Kerr’s 1915 Woods Bros. 20 HP engine for the second time.
An 1889 Russell 6 HP kept 7-year-old Cole and 4-year-old Cassey Perrenoud, Farley, Iowa, pretty busy during the show. Dad, Steve, stood back and coached the boys while they worked on their Russell. The boys know it’s dirty work, but someone’s got to do it! Keep up the good work, boys.
Owned by LeRoy McClure, Colchester, Ill., a 1910 New Huber 30 HP, no. 9309, and a 1914 Harrison 20 HP, no. 2165, were a rare breed. The New Huber is the only known double-cylinder and the Harrison is the only known Jumbo. LeRoy is one of those dedicated people; he’s been attending since 1953.
There are so many more steam engines to be seen at Mt. Pleasant: This glimpse into the past must really be seen to be believed, and you can experience it over the next Labor Day weekend.