There was but one week-end in June when rain did not fall in Montpelier, Ohio, and that (fortunately) was the week of the 16th Annual Reunion of the National Threshers Association, Inc., oldest and largest of the steam fan organizations. Over thirty large, fine looking and performing steam engines filled the infield of the race track at the Williams County Fair Grounds, with many other smaller engines near them or at the Model Building across the race track. The 'railroad locomotive' owned by Fred H. Paul of Frankfort, Indiana, provided pleasure for old and young alike as it sped around the track at 25 miles an hour. This year, for the first time, supervised ECONOMY TESTS were made of six different engines, with many engineers watching the hour-long tests with keen interest. 'Fantastic' was the word used to describe the tests by a member from Columbus. Interest was so great it is planned to continue the tests in 1961. Photo and data will be in the next issue of the ALBUM.
As usual at this Reunion, each day's program began with the playing of the national anthem, followed by the raising of the US, the NTA and the TNT flags in their beautiful colors, and the fitting invocation by Chaplain Ritzman. Two Baker fans were in operation, but because of the wet season it was impossible to construct an incline, and the same reason prevented ripening of the winter barley. However, there was plenty of activity in the infield and on the track, and Mac Keller's saw mill provided work for different engines, and F. M. Bloom put on his usual fine show with his miniature mill and baler. The setting contests, slow races, tug-of-war also provided further interest.
The Friday evening parade originated at the town hall with two rubber-tired engines pulling the calliope and a wagon on which rode the famous Rube Band. Robert Smith MC'd the Friday evening parade in fine fashion, and assisted by Amos Rixmann in the Saturday parade, when Life Memberships were presented to L. R. Baker, son of A. D. Baker, whose very first engine was a feature of the 1960 Reunion; and to 90 year old George Hitt of Bray, a thresher for over 50 years.
The annual business meeting of the association was held in the auditorium Thursday evening, with election of officers returning present slate to office with the exception of a new Director for Pennsylvania, Elmer W. Schaefer of Yoe, Pa. Rev. Ritzman conducted the impressive memorial services, and announcement was made of the serious illness of the Kentucky director, Wm. Jones of Winchester. Word came of his passing during the last days of the Reunion.
Interest of women in this Reunion is very great, since there is ample entertainment for those who are not especially interested in steam engines, but come along with their men-folks anyway. Many said the Hobby Lobby was the best ever, and the Friday program, 'Christmas in June' was well received. The afternoon teas Thursday and Friday were welcome additions to the programs. Election of officers at the annual meeting Thursday afternoon resulted in the following: President, Mrs. Leo Clark, Washington, Illinois; Vice-President, Mrs. James Conrad, Waterloo, Indiana;Secretary-Treasurer, Mrs. Glen Shepard, McClure, Ohio.
The 1961 NTA Reunion will be held again at the Williams County Fair Grounds, the last Thursday, Friday and Saturday of June, as usual. A feature of the 1961 Reunion will be another excursion to Greenfield Village Ford Museum as was held the last year the Reunion was on the Blaker farm. This year the excursion will include a visit to the Ford factory and to Windsor, Canada. Details will be announced in the 1961 NTA Steam-O-Gram in April, and in the IRON-MEN ALBUM. Watch for this notice, as this will be an excursion you will not want to miss.