R.R. 2, Arcola, Illinois 61910
As the show date drew closer for the 28th Annual Central States Threshermen's Reunion and Horse Show, the weather was on the minds of many who were planning to attend. Rainy weather the last years had affected the size of the crowd-exhibitors, mothers and children were tired of returning to their campers and/or motel rooms and cleaning muddy clothes, boots and shoes. The steam engines and gas tractors were ready for a work-out this year and beautiful weather for all FIVE days of the Reunion allowed the equipment to move freely over the grounds. Over 12,000 visitors attended the Reunion this year with 32 states and two foreign countries represented.
Pontiac is a unique show, with something for everyone...young and old-men, women and children. The large flea market, the building with homemade items, crafts, spinning and weaving are just a few of the attractions when one needs a variety from the prony brake, sawmill, threshing and other steam related activities. And who has ever gone to Pontiac and not had a good and satisfying meal! Churches in the area take turns preparing the delicious home-cooked meals and in addition there are a variety of stands for sandwiches, drinks, etc. The sawmill owned by Olaf Jacobson of Pontiac and operated by Ray Dye of Deedsville, Indiana is a main attraction as well as the shingle mill operated by Major Bragg of At wood, Illinois, the Prony Brake, under the capable supervision of Sylvester Fosdick of Fairbury, Illinois, and there is always a crowd when the threshing begins. Wilbur Jolley of Tuscola, Illinois is in charge of threshing and always gives the threshing machine a good workout! Pontiac also has a blacksmith. Mr. G. B. Mann of Benson, Illinois is in charge and has been blacksmithing for over 50 years. When the 'ring of the hammer' begins, Mr. Mann has a huge crowd watching his craftsmanship. Craftsmanship at the Pontiac show is also evident in the many models which are scaled down to perfection-Case, Baker, Nichols and Shepard, just to name a few. One of the highlights of this year's show was the crowning of Fred and Emma Haszler of Tonica, Illinois as King and Queen of the Show. Mr. and Mrs. Hazier have been active in the Pontiac Show from the first Reunion to the present time. It was a touching occasion. Another highlight came when Sam Haley of Dwight, Illinois interrupted Herb Beckemeyer, President of the show and acting M.C., during the Sunday parade, to acknowledge all the hard and dedicated work Herb has done. A long and standing ovation from the crowd and participants followed. Herb has done a fine job; and thank goodness, he has consented to be President again next year.
But the Pontiac Show is more to people who attend year after year than 'just another show.' Pontiac is seeing old friends-making new friends-experienced engineers teaching and helping the yound (and inexperienced) engineers. It is a show where engineers from other areas and states can come and operate an engine for a few moments or a few hours-saw lumber, participate in the daily parade and just have a good time! Constant activity-a trademark of Pontiac.
There is an old saying 'a picture is worth a thousand words.' The pictures here represent the spirit of the 1976 show-and a must for your calendar for the 1977 show on Labor Day weekend.