Russell Saves Bus

Baker Traction engine

Baker No. 1 traction engine climbing hills at Lost Nation Show grounds.

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8780 Elliott Highway Morenci, Michigan 49256

What do spring farmland, a school bus full of kids and one Russell 15 HP compound have in common? The Farmer's Antique Tractor and Engine Club, May show in Adrian, Michigan!

Our clay ground was very soft after a cold winter, and a school bus on a field trip to the show pulled off the driveway to unload. While the bus submerged a bit in the soft clay, the kids were unloaded and given a tour of the past. Two sawmills, several threshing machines, corn shredding, shingle making, 100 or more tractors and five steam tractors were part of the tour.

Meanwhile we found the empty bus stuck worse. The lower step was now at ground level. Two gas tractors had been hooked on and first pulled on the front of the bus, and then tried from the rear.

Myron Powers had just purchased a Russell engine, and the eager engineer had steamed up early that day. While firing up, he watched the sinking of the bus, and decided his engine would stay on the drives only. Being the instigator I am, there is no way I could let this go without a fight.

It took about half an hour of fast talking and a trip up the drive on the Russell for him to give in. Then we backed up to the bus without sinking too much, still not convincing Myron to hook up. His sister-in-law showed up with a chain (yes!).

A small crowd gathered and 'Go ahead, get as stuck as the bus or be a hero!' became the dare. The blower on the engine quickly built steam while the chain was hooked, and a bus driver chosen. Myron backed up slightly to get out of his own ruts and eased forward. As soon as the chain became tight, a quick pull on the throttle jerked the bus free and pulled it to solid ground, whistle blowing most of the way.

Needless to say, the kids had a good time watching and had quite a story for their parents. Myron 'walked on water' the entire weekend for saving the bus.

I'm not sure if a larger field trip for the fall show was the result, but there sure were a lot of kids asking which engine pulled out the bus, and it made me wonder.

If you can make it to the spring or fall show no doubt you will enjoy it.

The dates posted in the Steam and Gas Show Directory for our fall show are September 20-22, 1996, at 7600 Forrester Road, Adrian, Michigan.