Muddy: But No Smoker

12 HP Case

Tom Forman's 1899 12 HP Case Compound at the Pawnee show.

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9374 Roosevelt Street Crown Point, Indiana 46307

The Oklahoma Steam Threshing and Gas Engine Association, Inc., held their annual show in Pawnee, Oklahoma, over the weekend of May 6,7,8, 1994. Despite some evening rain and cloudy weather, the reunion was enjoyed by old friends, members, exhibitors and by all those who came to enjoy the weekend.

With other parts of the show grounds standing quiet and still, engineers were out early each morning preparing their engines for another day's work. The grates, as hpans and flues all being cleaned, engines given fresh oil and grease. A check of the water tank level and a double check of the boiler water level; only then is there a good fire kindled. Soon smoke begins to appear as each engine is fired up.

By 10:00 a.m. most of the large steam engines and scale steam engines on the grounds are steamed up and ready for action. Some of the engineers and engines at the reunion were: Dale Wolf of Cushing, Oklahoma, with his 16-50 Nichols and Shepard; Francis Fegal's 80 HP Case; Chady Atteberry, of Blackwell, Oklahoma, brought his 40 HP Case and 20-70 Nichols and Shepard; Tom Forman of Stillwater, Oklahoma, came to the reunion with a 12 HP 1899 Case compound and 18HP return flue Huber; 30-98 Nichols and Shepard owned by Henry and Paul Martin; Lois Wood's 18 HP Wood Brothers; Ed Larson's Mustang was at the show with his 6 HP Russell Port; Lymon Knapp's Canton Monitor; John Fry of Newalla, Oklahoma, and his 18 HP Greyhound, with its new decals; Kenneth Kelley's and Cecil Kelley's family 110 HP Case; Kenneth Sullivan's 50 HP Case; Floyd Kelley's 28 HP Minneapolis; Steve Dunn's 20 HP double Keck-Gonnerman.

All engineers took pride in handling their machines. Amos Rixman was busy each day, providing owners and engineers the opportunity to prove themselves and their machines. Bleachers were nearby for those who wished their use, while many individuals stood near each engine as they pulled on the brake and listened. Others preferred to stand, watch and listen to Amos at the brake itself.

Near the lineup of engines one finds the sawmill busy over the weekend show. No fancy bleachers found here, onlookers make good use of the logs waiting to be sawed. John Fry's Greyhound and Dale Wolf's Nichols and Shepard were among the engines that pulled the sawmill.

The sound of whistles blowing marked time for a short break, with plenty of food to feed all those who came. After a good noonday meal, exhibitors were ready for the parade. The 'Elgin Watch' was moved into place at the base of the incline, the name of her maker boldly noted on her smoke box door. Once again, W. C. 'Chady' Atteberry demonstrated the power of the steam engine with perfection.

Visitors walked through the buildings on the grounds, viewing a variety of items on display. A few of the antique cars and trucks could be found touring the showgrounds. Grinding grain was among the other activities taking place over the weekend. Nearby is the aroma of freshly sawed cedar shingles filling the air, as Ed Larson's 6 HP Russell provided power for the shingle mill.

Threshing always plays an important part in the weekend activities. After the thresher is placed in position, grain and bundle wagons can then be hauled and set in their proper positions. With a variety of power available, both steam engines and gas tractors provided power to threshers over the weekend. Several of the large steamers took their turn at supplying power. Onlookers watched with interest as bundle and grain wagons were pulled into position. Bleachers are nearby for spectators' use, but most individuals seem to enjoy standing near the engine or thresher. Other spectators make good use of the straw bales from one of the hay presses in use at the show.

Circling the northern part of the show grounds, the Pawnee Express added her own distinctive sound to the weekend, pulling her own tender and two passenger cars filled with passengers. At the southern end of the grounds and across the tracks, owners with their array of gas engines have now comfortably nestled themselves among the grove of trees, with their engines now well orchestrated in a harmonized chant of a day gone by.

The flea market was nearby with engines, engine parts, antiques, and more for visitors and treasure seekers. Live music entertainment was available over the weekend, providing visitors time to stop and listen.

Careful planning and enthusiastic participation made this reunion one to be remembered. The weather during the day was favorable all three days. The rain that fell was just enough to muddy the field and cool the temperature for the time being. The actual amount of grain threshed or lumber and shingle sawed will not be remembered. The success of the show is a credit to all those who have given their time and effort. Crowds were held with interest, in all that was on display and the information provided by owners and operators.