It’s never too late to take up a new hobby. So this year, why not try steam? Nine organizations will hold steam schools in 2012, so whether you’re new to the hobby, or just want to stay on top of your game, one of these schools will definitely fit the bill.
The courses are taught by experienced steam engineers and focus on safety, operation and maintenance through classroom instruction and hands-on experience. Registration is required, and make sure to register early as classes fill up quickly. And why wouldn’t they? Operating a historic steam traction engine, taking in the sights and smells at a beautiful club’s grounds – there’s no better way to experience old iron than this.
12th Annual Central States Thresherman’s Reunion Steam School
When: May 12-13
Where: Thresherman’s Reunion Park, Pontiac
Tuition: $50 ($40 for additional family members)
The course is designed for beginning and intermediate engineers, with an emphasis on safe engine operation. Camping, coffee, donuts and lunch both days are included. Class size is limited to 50.
For more information: David Schott, 620 S. Vermillion St., Pontiac, IL 61764; (815) 842-3129; email: email@example.com.
Midwest Old Threshers Reunion Steam School
When: May 5-6
Where: Midwest Old Threshers show grounds, Mt. Pleasant
The course stresses classroom and hands-on experience. Materials and two noon meals are included.
For more information: Terry McWilliams, Public Relations and Marketing, 405 E. Threshers Rd., Mt. Pleasant, IA 52641; (319) 385-8937; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Heritage Park of North Iowa 12th Annual Steam School
When: May 19-20
Where: Heritage Park of North Iowa, Forest City
Materials, breakfast, lunch and refreshments are included. Free primitive camping is also available. Class size is limited to 50.
For more information: Jerred Ruble, Director of Shows, Heritage Park of North Iowa, 754 342nd St., Hanlontown, IA 50444; (641) 797-2697; email: email@example.com.
Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion/University of Rollag Steam School
When: June 16-17
Where: Steamer Hill, Rollag
The course stresses classroom instruction and hands-on experience using a wide range of steam equipment, including stationary, traction, miniature and railroad engines. The class is certified for Minnesota, North Dakota and Ohio steam hobby licenses. Materials and two meals are included. Class size is limited to 70.
For more information: Tom Hall, University of Rollag, PO Box 999, Moorhead, MN 56561; (218) 233-1771.
Rough & Tumble Engineers Historical Assn. Steam School
When: May 19 and June 2
Where: Rough & Tumble Engineers Historical Assn. grounds, Kinzers
The course emphasizes safety, maintenance, operation and hands-on experience. Classroom time is half of the first day, with remaining time dedicated to practical hands-on experience, including cleaning, inspection, maintenance and operation. Students will be introduced to operating railroad engines, a steam roller and various steam traction equipment. All materials are included. Class size is limited to 27, age 14 and over. Must be a Rough & Tumble member or join prior to steam school.
For more information: John Johnson (717) 442-4249; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Williams Grove Historical Engine Assn., Inc. Steam Engineering School
When: June 2-3
Where: Steam Engine Hill, Williams Grove Historical Engine Assn. grounds, Mechanicsburg
Tuition: $50 ($40 for members)
Manuals and two meals are included.
For more information: Barry Peck, (717) 789-4421; WGHSEA Inc., 1 Steam Engine Hill, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055; email: email@example.com.
Oklahoma Steam Threshing & Gas Engine Assn. Pawnee Steam School
When: March 23-25
Where: Days Gone By/Tennessee Historic Steam and Gas Association grounds, Portland
Materials and two meals are included. The course covers maintenance and repair as well as hands-on experience.
For more information: Travis Brown; (615) 907-1978.
Somerset Steam & Gas Engine Assn. 15th Annual Somerset Steam School
When: April 21-22
Where: Fairfield View Dairy Farm, 14375 Blue Ridge Turnpike, Somerset
The course is divided into classroom and hands-on sessions with a focus on education, familiarization and safety in operation and maintenance of steam engines and boilers. All materials and two noon meals are included. Class size is limited to 20.
For more information: Bill Roberts, PO Box 492, Somerset, VA 22972; (540) 672-2495; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wisconsin Historical Steam Engine Assn. Steam School
When: Sept. 28-30
Where: Rock River Thresheree show grounds, Edgerton
Subjects include steam theory, boiler construction, safety, maintenance and operation with hands-on experience. All materials, coffee, donuts, and lunch on Saturday and Sunday are included. Free primitive camping is available on the show grounds. The American Society of Power Engineers test will be offered (but is not mandatory) on Sunday for $55. Class size is limited to 50.
For more information: Jeff Bloemers, Wisconsin Historical Steam Engine Assn. Steam School, W 4597 County Road F, Waldo, WI 53093; (920) 287-1146; email: email@example.com.