35 Pueblitos Road Belen, New Mexico 87002
The 35th annual Tri-State Antique Engine and Thresher’s
Association Show got off with its usual cloud of smoke, puff of
steam and a Hi-Yo Silver! The coal burners once more filled the air
of Bird City, Kansas with fun and excitement, as well as their
aroma that hangs in the early morning air. The four-day living
museum of the high plains reunited its thou-sands of friends, as it
has in years past.
This year the directors had the foresight to order cooler
weather for the show which worked out just fine as I noticed the
folks spent a little more time out on the fields. And, as usual, I
wasn’t able to find enough time to get my camera into the
buildings, so, I still don’t have any pictures of the goings-on
at the Avenue of Lost Arts, or the Antique Collections, or the
Country School House, or any part of the 50% of the show that
happens inside. I’ll try again in ’89.
The fact is, I was so busy this year I only had time to gobble
down nine slices of that world famous ‘Bird City Pie’ that
the ladies bake fresh every morning. A gentleman from Texas, after
sampling a few of the varieties, remarked that his two favorite
kinds of pie were the hot and the cold.
I did, however, get in a few snap-shots of some of the kids. The
kids are top priority at the show. They are taught all they want to
know and they are encouraged to ride or help as much as they are
able. The kids aren’t just there to watch and enjoy, but to
learn as they are the ones who will be entrusted with the equipment
and responsibilities in the years to come. It’s this attitude
that insures the continuance of the ‘Iron-Men’ legacy.
‘Catherine Marie’ bears a Dec. 17, 1876 patent date and
she saw duty at Independence, Colorado hoisting silver ore from a
mine. Carl Bergman, right, of Aspen inspects the calliope he built
for her while Bill Mencimer also of Aspen looks on. ‘Catherine
Marie’ is the oldest licensed boiler in Colorado. She bears her
age well while playing her music in the parades.
Our friend, helper, and one of the show’s directors, Wayne
‘Tom’ Sawyer and his 1914 Little Bull. This 5-12 HP tractor
has a large red arrow on the steering shaft that lets the operator
know which way it’s about to go. Some folks down here on the
New Mexico highways could use a device like that on their cars!
Top: From the Faber Farms of Brewster, Kansas
comes this Townsend 2 cylinder 10-20 HP gas tractor built around
1920, with the family farm since ’38. Operating is John Faber
and his sons John has been at the Bird City show for 34 of the 35
years. It would be interesting to read more about the Townsend Co.
Bottom An oil-fired Aultman operated by Bird
City’s Bob Brubaker, one of the directors who engineer the
Top: Melvin Wright of Bird City and his well
polished 1928 American LaFrance always shine in the antique car
parade. Bottom: This 1911 Rumely 25-60 HP, two
cylinder with Stephenson gearing is owned and operated by Norm
Mays, left, of Vernon, Colorado. Norm is one of the boiler
inspectors at the show who keeps things safe and trouble free. With
Norm, left to right, are Ed Larson, Chester Dwrin and Joseph
Delbert and some others worked hard to get her running for the
show, but she had a few too many problems. Next year she’ll be
up and parading around.
Everett Rohrer’s 25-85 Nichols and Shepard #13986, Everett
with the engineer’s cap is helped out by three young friends
from Colby, Kansas, left to right, John O’Neal, Josh Schwarz
and Matt Smith.
One of our good friends that comes each year is Everett Rohrer
from Englewood, Colorado. Everett started out in Nevada, Missouri
where he farmed with his family. Everett’s father had a dream
of owning a 25-85 Nichols & Shepard like he had once seen.
After WW II Everett searched the hills of southern Missouri for
that engine. After several years he found her powering a saw mill
and after several more years her owner finally let Everett buy her,
fulfilling his father’s dream. Everett equipped her with a Pyle
generator, the head lamp and bell from a locomotive, and the
whistle off a Big Boy locomotive that was wrecked at Red Desert,
Our old friend from Scott City, Kansas, Wes Pitman, came with
his Case, as is his habit. However, Wes wasn’t feeling quite up
to par, so when someone came up with a golf cart, Wes was able to
get around and visit with us all.
We had a few extra treats this year. The Governor of Kansas
stopped by to wish us a good time and join in the fun. Dean, Mel,
Kelly and Harlan, the barbershop quartet ‘Borderline’, came
up to entertain the folks with their renditions of golden oldies.
And, Don Wright gave an after dark spark show with his engine
following the Friday evening tractor pull.
Presiding this year as Threshing Queen was Blanch McDowell born
in 1902. The Threshing Princess was Kari Milliken, while Evelynn
Harvey was the ’88 Antique Car Club Queen.
Well, I’m writing this in October and next year’s wheat
has already been drilled and is growing for the threshing
demonstrations for the ’89 show which promises to be better
than ever. I’m looking forward to seeing you all back when once
again the ground will shake and the earth will move under the
awesome display of horsepower.