Letters: Lack of common sense too frequent at antique farm shows

I’ve enjoyed reading Farm Collector for many years and look forward to receiving it each month. Josephine Roberts’ December column struck a chord with me. She exhibits a degree of knowledge from seemingly firsthand experience of someone much, much older and experienced than she appears to be.

She wrote about the lack of common sense at antique farm shows and how that is taking a toll on people willing to put on these demonstrations. I too have witnessed on several occasions parents’ total disregard for the safety of their children at these events.

Threshing demonstrations, hay baling, sawmilling, shingle milling, rock crushing, and using antique machinery as power sources, and even smaller demonstrations of corn grinding, water pumping etc., using small hit-and-miss engines have to be cordoned off, only to be ignored by parents allowing their children to encroach beyond those barriers. They seem to have no perception of the danger present. Sometimes it is not only the kids who go beyond roped boundaries: Adults too totally disregard their own safety to cross those boundaries and get too close to running machinery.

The most common violation I’ve seen is adults standing too close to threshing machines or other equipment with the long endless belts. If those people had ever witnessed one of those belts coming off a unit while under load and at full rpm, they would not dare to be so close. Yet if an accident happens, they claim it is the fault of the people staging the demonstration and they are ready to sue.

It is no wonder old iron shows have difficulty maintaining the level of demonstration participants. Many of the younger generation who have the interest and desire to continue these traditions are unwilling to expose themselves to such liability.

I couldn’t agree more with Josephine Roberts on the absence of common sense. I sincerely enjoy reading her columns.

Ralph Roming, Roaring Springs, Texas

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