37th ANNUAL Tri-State Antique Engine & Threshers Association Show


| July/August 1991



Saw mill

Floyd Wright, center, pulling off fall from the saw mill.

1026 Kearney Manhattan, Kansas 66502

The Northwest corner of downtown Kansas, Buckle on the Wheat belt, once again played host to four fun filled days of high plains style of antique engine and threshers show. Bird City came alive with a puff of steam, a cloud of smoke and the whirl of gears. Folks gather around every year to play hard, after working hard gathering in the wheat and delivering it to the grain elevator, and 1990 was a record breaking year.

The pioneer exhibit gets a little more crowded in spite of the new building, which took no time at all to fill up. One of the exhibits drawing attention last summer was the wool and spinning booth. The pioneer exhibit includes vintage home furnishings for the ranch house, farm house, or even a homestead dugout. Farther down the long aisles, one can experience early prairie life in village stores, as well as tradesmen's shops.

The steam races and parades are every day. Those big old engines running quiet and smooth, sometimes make you wonder how gas and diesel ever replaced coal on the farm and rail. I may just be a hopeless romantic, but those coal burners sure do look better to me, and they certainly do smell better.

I can never say enough about the older folks. Of course, 'older folks', is a relative term. To some of the younger engineers, I'm well over the hill, however, to the older folks at Bird City, I'm still a kid who needs a little guidance now and then. Anyhow, as many years as I've been coming to the show, there's always a whole bunch more old methods that I seem to pick up. I had a little more time this year to spend with the early gas tractors, and there was always somebody older than the tractor to show me how to start or operate it. Here I'd like to give special thanks to Floyd Wright for helping me out.

With the help of the Threshing Master, Leo Wilkins, and my helper engineer, John O'Neal, I threshed some of that 1990 record setting wheat crop with the Russell. Stopping the engine, however, I got into trouble as the belt flew off the flywheel in the direction of the engine and it got tangled in the clutch, but, Leo was patient with me as he inspected the job I did of destroying his belt. John O'Neal, by the way, won about two thirds of the slow races while running that Russell.