Rough and Tumble Show is a Steaming Success

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Right: Rough and Tumble volunteers move a pile of dirt in a steamy demonstration with Ray Fleetwood’s 1922 Erie Model B steam shovel.
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Left: Recent steam school graduates Andrea Glenn (center) and James Kroa takes friend Deidra Bollinger for a spin around the Rough and Tumble show grounds.

Smoke, soot and steam filled the air at the 56th Annual
Threshermen’s Reunion sponsored by the Rough and Tumble Engineers
Historical Association (RTEHA) of Kinzers, Pa. The event drew
spectators and exhibitors from around the country. The featured
machines for 2004 included Caterpillar and Sheppard equipment, but
International Harvester, John Deere, Rumely, Huber, Frick and many
other petroleum-powered tractors were present in numbers enough to
appeal to every palate.

As with every Rough and Tumble reunion, steam was the order of
the day, powering everything from an Erie shovel to a 1905 Chase
shingle mill. Paul Stoltzfus, Norman Gay and Jeffrey Doncette had
their hands full running an 1895 8-inch bore and 10-inch stroke
Frick steam traction engine (owned by Dave Adams) pulling an Adams
leaning-wheel grader, while other Rough and Tumble volunteers moved
a pile of dirt from one place to another with Ray Fleetwood’s 1922
Erie Model B steam shovel. Not all steamers were involved with the
working demonstrations, though.

Jamie Hall of Churchill, Md., fired his family’s beautifully
restored 1915 50 hp Frick Eclipse engine just to take it for a spin
around the grounds. “The engine has been in the family for many
years,” Jamie says. “They used horses before that.” Jamie takes
pride in the condition of the Eclipse and looks for every
opportunity to run it.

Amos Zimmerman of Meyerstown, Pa., tended a pair of steam
engines at the show: An original 1913 Case and a half-scale working
model of it that he built. Amos has been around steam engines for
most of his life, and he can’t imagine another way.

Education and safety are also an important part of the Rough and
Tumble mission, particularly with regard to steam engines and their
operation. The organization offers seminars and courses every year
to keep steam operators up to date on codes and testing procedures,
and to train new engineers. The organization is fully committed to
keeping the legacy of steam power alive.

“Steam school isn’t just for older guys,” says recent graduate
Andrea Glenn with a sooty smile as she adjusts valves and eases one
of the organization’s Eclipse traction engines into motion. “I have
been around them for most of my life and now I can finally run
one.” Fifteen-year-old Andrea and fellow steam school graduate
James Kroa worked together to safely pilot the smoke-belching steam
engine around the Rough and Tumble show grounds last August.

“It is good to see the younger generations take an interest (in
steam),” Amos says wistfully. “I’d hate for it all to be lost.”
With young enthusiasts like Andrea around and with the help of
organizations like the RTEHA, Amos needn’t worry.

For more information on the RTEHA and their 2005 schedule:
Rough and Tumble, P.O. Box 9, Kinzers, PA 17535; (717) 442-4249;
www.roughandtumble.org

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