The 2018 Central States Threshermen’s Reunion in Pontiac, Ill., was one of the biggest shows in memory there. The second oldest antique tractor show in Illinois, the Central States club hosted the Gathering of the Orange in 2018, welcoming more than 1,000 tractor displays. Photo by Raymond Mattox, Crete, Ill.
According to an old proverb, it takes a village to raise a child. Using the same logic, to produce a tractor or steam show, it takes a group of people big enough to populate a good-size city.
People are, quite simply, the heart of every show. The old iron on display plays a starring role, to be sure – but without the people who bring exhibits, work in demonstrations, line up endless rows of tractors, organize parades, build the buildings, plant and harvest grain, ready the show grounds and keep club-owned displays running, it’d be pretty boring business.
This year’s crop of show photos taken by readers of Farm Collector celebrate the volunteer. Behind every successful show is a small army of volunteers who spend weeks before the show opens getting things ready, and then punch in for dawn-to-dusk shifts every day of the show.
They’re grading parade routes and watering roads to fight dust. They’re setting up bleachers, staging tractor pulls, hauling grain (and trash, and supplies, and food, and ice). They’re making sure exhibitors have everything they need to keep their antiques running. They’re handling registrations, manning the information booth, answering emails and phone calls. Mowing. Working the gate. Parking cars. Cooking. Handling security. Running demonstrations several times a day.
Many are retirees; others take time off from work to help out. All have other things they might be doing, but they’ve chosen to put their energies into preserving the past. Enjoy these photos, and remember who makes shows possible: Cheers to the volunteers! FC
This 17hp 1920 Harrison Jumbo is pulling a 9hp Harrison portable engine built in the mid-1870s. Both engines were purchased and used by the late Orville McCauley, Nixa, Missouri. They have remained in the McCauley family for four generations. Orville’s grandson, Randy McCauley, is shown here walking behind the portable engine, and Randy’s sons, Josh and Dylan, are at the wheel of the Jumbo. Photo by Jon Fieker, Monett, Mo.
Russ Sutton takes a close look at his 1918 Allis-Chalmers Model 6-12 during the 22nd annual Heritage Days held Sept. 22-23, at the Jim and Gladys Nelson farm near Mora, Minn. Photo by Gladys Nelson, Mora, Minn.
Even one Allis-Chalmers D-21 is a load, but 80 of them in one place? The display – part of the Gathering of the Orange hosted by the Central States Threshermen’s Reunion, Pontiac, Ill. – was a big hit with showgoers. Photo by Bob Hunnicutt, Washington, Ill.
Lyle Huls worked with his three-horse hitch of Red Roan Belgians at the Humboldt (S.D.) Old Fashioned Threshing Show, Aug. 10-12. Lyle is on a Pioneer sulky cart pulling a 1930s-vintage International Harvester 1x19-inch plow. Photo by Denise Schroeder.
Sydney Stratman played an important role – and one not everyone is well suited to – installing new grates in the 1916 Minneapolis 20hp steam engine owned by the Stratman family. Photo by Steve Stratman, Pueblo, Colo.
The Pioneer Railroad is the most popular stop on the show grounds for children (and their elders) who enjoy rides on the 2,500-foot railroad through the woods and over bridges during the Le Sueur (Minn.) Pioneer Power Show. Photo by Beth Coyle.
Having fun with Grandpa: Noah Hrubetz (on the wheel of a massive Best steam engine) with Galynn Ferris during the Antique Caterpillar Machinery Owner’s Club annual show, held in 2018 at Holt Caterpillar, San Antonio, Texas. Photo by Mary Bloom, Bakersfield, Calif.
Kevin Hembrough put all he had into starting a 15hp Reid engine owned by the Hembrough family during the Fall Festival & Steam Show Days, South Jacksonville, Ill., Sept. 28-30. Kevin is the son of Richard and Sheila Hembrough. Photo by Janet Healy, Fulton, Mo.
Bob Linke, Warrenton, Mo., demonstrates the nearly lost art of broom-making on a vintage broom maker owned by the Art Gilbert family during the Montgomery County Old Threshers Show held in August in Montgomery City, Mo. Photo by Janet Healy, Fulton, Mo.
"Wild Willie” Portier knows how to entertain the crowd during a parade at the Florida Flywheelers Antique Engine Club in Ft. Meade, Fla., in February 2018. Wild Willie is driving his one-of-a-kind scale model of a 1915 Ford Model touring car. Photograph by Lori Pascal, Naples, Fla.
Dan Metcalf, Cedar Fort, Utah, takes a ride on the Ozark Steam Engine Assn.’s Maytag husker/shredder. The piece was sold new in 1910 or 1911 by Springfield Machinery Co., Springfield, Mo., to Paul Prosser, Conway, Mo. The husker/shredder was later donated by the Prosser family to the Ozark association. Photo by Jon Fieker, Monett, Mo.
Is it work, or is it fun? Grading the parade route during the Le Sueur (Minn.) Pioneer Power Show. Photo by Beth Coyle, Apple Valley, Minn.
“The May 2018 issue of Farm Collector had a pencil drawing of a harrow cart in the Memories of a Former Kid cartoon,” Fred Heidt notes. “This photo shows a Massey-Harris harrow and drag cart in action. The harrow’s center section is an A-frame with left and right sides built to fit. The cart poles are crossed so the cart will follow around a corner.” Photo by Fred Heidt, Cambria, Wis.
A mule-drawn one-row corn picker was put through its paces at the Tri-State Mule & Draft Horse Show at the Tri-State Antique Engine & Thresher grounds, Bird City, Kan., on Oct. 6. Photo by Norm Hayes, Vernon, Colo.
A 1938 Massey-Harris PTO haymower and 1932 Wallis 20-70 tractor on display at the Picket (Wis.) Steam and Gas Engine Show, Sept. 8-9. Photo by Fred Heidt, Cambria, Wis.
Ryan Hembrough, Jacksonville, Ill., prepares to start a pump engine at the Fall Festival & Steam Show Days, South Jacksonville, Ill., Sept. 28-30. Pumping engines and pumps were the show feature. Photo by Janet Healy, Fulton, Mo.
During the 20th annual Coal Springs Threshing Bee near Meadow, S.D., a 1947 Farmall H owned by Wade Hofer pulls an International Harvester binder owned by the Harold Flatmoe family. The Coal Springs club hosted South Dakota IHC Collectors, Chapter 21, at their 2018 show. Photo by Bruce Flatmoe, Burnsville, S.D.
Four generations of Stratman family engineers pose proudly with their 1916 Minneapolis 20hp steam engine. Left to right: Wes Stratman, Steve Stratman, Braden Pryor and Craig Pryor. The engine was displayed at the Chaffee County Fair Show, Salida, Colo., July 28-29. Photo by Laurie Stratman, Pueblo, Colo.
When this 50hp Case engine was built in 1915, it was shipped to Harrison, Ark. It is currently owned by the Ozark Steam Engine Assn. Association member Chris Brummett, Carthage, Mo. (shown here), operates this engine every year. It is primarily used to run the association’s sawmill. Photo by Jon Fieker, Monett, Mo.
This recently completed reproduction grist mill is a handsome addition to the Nittany Antique Machinery Assn. fall show, Sept. 6-9, in Centre Hall, Pa. Photo by Gary C. Gentzel Sr., Spring Mills, Pa.
Using mule power to bring in wheat bundles for threshing at a Heritage Antique Tractor Club event, McCook, Neb. Photo by Jerry Owens, McCook, Neb.
When a club completes a building project, a bit of celebrating is in order. Here, happy volunteers practically jump for joy at the grand opening of the new Walker gas engine shed at the Le Sueur (Minn.) Pioneer Power Show. Photo by Beth Coyle, Apple Valley, Minn.
The hard-working threshing crew at the Le Sueur (Minn.) Pioneer Power Show cut the grain, loaded it and threshed it in demonstrations during the show. Photo by Beth Coyle, Apple Valley, Minn.
This 1/2-scale Gaar-Scott engine and tender are owned by Brian Field, Pleasant Hope, Mo. The engine was built in the early 1970s by Mr. Poe (first name unknown), who lived north of Kansas City, Mo. Brian is shown here driving the engine with Gib Thurman, Ottawa, Kansas, riding on the tender. Photo by Jon Fieker, Monett, Mo.
Taken by a drone, this photo shows Lloyd Ransom’s McCormick-Deering W-9 belted to the Coal Springs Threshing Bee’s Aultman & Taylor wooden threshing machine, with grain going into Wade Hofer’s 1946 Chevrolet truck during the 20th annual Coal Springs Threshing Bee near Meadow, S.D. Photo by Everett Paul, Maurine, S.D.
Threshing with steam on Griff Malleck’s farm with members of the Heritage Antique Tractor Club. Photo by Jerry Owens, McCook, Neb.
Ron Sevart, Gerard, Kan., (left) and Dan Fieker, Highland, Ill., running the Ozark Steam Engine Assn.’s 1915 Rumely engine. The boys catching a ride are Dan’s grandsons: Grady and Micah Martie. Photo by Jon Fieker, Monett, Mo.
William Ingram, Sistersville, W.Va., at the wheel of his 1948 Allis-Chalmers Model G equipped with a Midwest loader at the Jackson’s Mill Antique Tractor & Engine Show in Weston, W.Va., May 26. Photo by Tracy Fletcher, Sistersville, W.Va.
Launching the tractor cruise at the Macon County (Mo.) Flywheel Reunion. Photo by Melanie Boone, Macon, Mo.
Blacksmithing demonstration at the Ozark Steam Engine Assn. show. Photo by Jon Fieker, Monett, Mo.
Raymond Swanstone (left) and Kevin Shannon (center) flex their muscles to help Ralph Blades start his Witte gas engine at the Northwest Missouri Steam & Gas Engine Show, Hamilton, Mo., Aug. 18. Photo by Charles Wise, Sedalia, Mo.
Ed Lytle’s 1926 Rumely Oil Pull 25-45 Model R looms large next to his 1-1/2hp John Deere gas engine at the Florida Flywheelers Antique Engine Club’s February 2018 show in Ft. Meade, Fla. Photo by Lori Pascal, Naples, Fla.
This scale-model Rumely OilPull was built by Ozark Steam Engine Assn. President Charley Stark, Republic, Mo., in 2009. Charley is shown here, walking along the engine and keeping a close eye on it and the youngsters nearby. Photo by Jon Fieker, Monett, Mo.
The 18th annual display of antique farm equipment was a hit at the Wayne County Fairgrounds in North Carolina. This offset Farmall is a nice example of a tractor commonly used to cultivate small fields of tobacco in North Carolina and other parts of the south. Photo by Tom Gerow Jr., Cary, N.C.
“It’s always a great thrill when a show has a steam locomotive that visitors can use to ride around the grounds,” says Janet Healy, “like this one at the Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion, Rollag, Minn.” Photo by Janet Healy, Fulton, Mo.
At the 20th annual Coal Springs Threshing Bee, held during the last full weekend in September near Meadow, S.D., Alan Lemke, Lantry, S.D., hauls a load of bales with his International 706 pedal tractor. Photo by Floyd Hansen, St. Joseph, Mo.
Glen Horton, Chula, Mo., takes his 1954 Model A Copar Panzer for a joyride at the annual Jack Branch Engine Club Crank-Up, Sedalia, Mo., on Oct. 6. The Model A was the first of a long line of models offered by the firm, which went under various trade names, including Copar Panzer, Panzer, Pennsylvania Panzer and Meteor. Photo by Charles Wise, Sedalia, Mo.