NORTHWEST MICHIGAN SHOW

Engine show

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Route 3, Box 3722, Grayling, Michigan 49738

I can remember, around ten years or so ago, hearing about some sort of an engine show to be held somewhere north of Cadillac, Michigan. I remember driving up to the edge of a woods and hearing old gas engines popping away and steam whistles blowing. What a sound! And what a time I had! Little did I know that this was the beginning of a real fine engine club in the northwest part of the lower peninsula of Michigan.

Turns out that a bunch of fellows, mostly farmers or farm country folks, got together and decided to bring in their old stuff and invite neighbors and friends around to come and enjoy it. I don't know exactly who all was there, but I'm told it was headed up by fellows like Leonard and Ray Claus, Maurice Hulett, Karl Kreiser, Sam Zue, and Joe Rebman. In fact, I think that the first show was held on Joe Rebman's farm. Really, one of the originators should be writing thisit would be much more accurate. I'm sure I'll leave out a lot of important names and facts.

But, like the fabled Topsy,' this thing just grew and grew. Some years later, with an eye to the future, the fellows organized a club and rented, with option to buy, a piece of land of about 70 acres. This had a woods, a natural amphitheater for parades and such, and was near the town of Buckley. They bought the land and started building permanent buildings here and there and putting in permanent machinery such as a big vertical steam boiler, sawmill and veneer mill under cover, covered eating area, comfort facilities, etc. Like most engine clubs, the thing grew.

I won't begin to list everything that goes on or who does it just the philosophy that more and more, rather than have a row of engines running or just sitting there, belt a number of them up to whatever they were originally intended for and run something. That there are items of interest for the wives or mothers in the family. That there are things of interest for the younger folks. That there is a good flea market with at least some items related to our hobby. The club tries to make for fun and enjoyment for lots of different folks, not just engine collectors. And another thing, the club seems to have equal interest in most all old power: steam, gas or kerosene, hot-air, dog power, horsepower, etc. They invite folks outside the club to contribute show items. Some of the best items come from a long ways away. For instance, Mrs. Georgiana Martin comes with a spinning wheel and really teaches about it and weaving. There is always a crowd around her.

For meals, they have permanent grills to do hundreds of chickens a day, a beef barbecue setup, and a number of portable eateries of different sorts. Wives and daughters get in on this real strong. At night they make popcorn in a big old cast iron hog kettlebushels of popped corn at a time.

We threshed wheat with a small separator that Tom Small restored, then took the grain over to a stone grinder that Larry Mathews restored and made flour. I took some of that home and my wife mixed it with some sort of all-purpose flour and made bread. Tried it out on some of our guests, especially toasted and with a little honey. Can't buy anything that good in a restaurant. Wish I knew the names of all the contributors and could tell about them here, but it would take a whole magazine. Many times just one tractor, like the 30/60 Nichols & Shepard that Tom Graham and Joe Smith restored and had to fabricate heads for, among other things, would make a whole story.

Anyway, I guess that the Buckley Show, third weekend in August, has become an important matter of happening year to year. The club is a very friendly group. You, the reader, might bring something, or just yourself. Folks all seem to enjoy it. I know that I do.