Last spring, I kicked off the 2008 farm show season by attending the Oklahoma Steam and Gas Engine Show in Pawnee, Okla. Always held the first weekend in May, the show offers plenty to see for steam and gas engine enthusiasts alike.
Spread out in a spacious venue that is just right for the amount of engines on display, last year's variety included Russell, Case, Grehound, Garr-Scott, Keck-Gonnerman, Minneapolis and others. For the few hours I spent there, I saw many engines on the move, either running the sawmill, taking a leisurely drive around the grounds or participating in the very popular steam engine race and the end of the day. It was by far, the slowest race I've ever witnessed but a nail biter nonetheless. Add to that incline demonstrations, plowing, wheat threshing and other various activities and you've got yourself a full day of steam engine excitment.
If you get tired of walking around, take a load off in the steam engine building and watch the big Allis-Chalmers Corliss-type steam engine in action. According to the information posted, the engine was donated to the Oklahoma Threshers in 1974 by the Blackwell Zinc Co. in Blackwell, Okla. There, the engine was one of two that generated electric power for the operation, which was, for many years, the world's largest zinc smelter.
There's also great food to eat, a craft show and flea market and a sanctioned tractor pull for the kids - all in all a fun weekend for everyone in the family.
The 2009 show takes place May 1-3 and features Minneapolis steam engines. For more information, contact Robert Marrs at (916) 698-6701 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.