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 show.
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 Dwirn.
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, Wyoming.
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.