The North Central Illinois Steam Power Show, Inc., closed its 1973 four-day Steam and Horse Power Threshing Show, Sunday evening, August 5, at the J. Floyd King farm at Kings, III. The show was a great success in big measures, making it the best in 7 years at Kings. The weather was beautiful all four days with plenty of sunshine.
A record breaking crowd of over 18,000 attended the old time agricultural show of numerous field demonstrations, August 2 thru 5, using the power of draft horses, mules, steam engines, and large gas tractors. Evolutions of plowing, steam and horse power threshing, straw baling, saw milling, shingle milling, corn grinding with horses, elevating oats with mules, and woven wire fence making by hand, was the greatest daily attractions. Other daily attractions was the teeter-totter act of balancing a steam engine with Harry Woodmansee of Dowling, Michigan at the controls, the Baker Fan demonstration of engine power, a belting contest with steam engines, slow race with steam engines, and the numerous stationary gas engines that were in operation daily. Also not to be missed was a tread-mill, powered by a Jackass, which in turn powered a grinding stone for sharpening tools. This was something new at the Kings show.
Oh! yes, we must not forget the large Ladies Hobby Tent, that was full of sale items, antique displays, and demonstrations of rug weaving, spinning wool to yarn, wicker basket weaving, rope making, soap making and candle making. It was a day of fun for everyone who attended the show at Kings. There was activity all over the farm all four days.
Visitors from 26 states, Canada, France, Norway, and Australia, registered in the 1973 guest book. Approximately 7,000 curious spectators jammed the Kings show grounds, Sunday, August 5, the last day of the show. This was a special day of attraction by having the appearance of the Westphalion All Stallion Hitch, the only one in the world, at the Kings show grounds. These stallions were brought to the United States from West Germany in 1965 for exhibition at the New York World's Fair. The Stallions are now owned by Midwest Park Service, Inc., operations of Pioneer Park, Aurora, III. Harnessing and hitching demonstrations of the 6 large stallions was performed at 10:00 a.m. and at 1:30 p.m. at the Kings show for the public's interest and entertainment. The Westphalion Stallions are known to be of the heaviest breed, weighing in the vicinity of 2,700 pounds each. They added much beauty as they pulled a large heavy duty wagon in the parade on Sunday. The Steam and Horse Power Show at Kings with its numerous count of old time field demonstrations, was filmed, Friday, August 3, by officials of the J. I. Case Company of Racine, Wisconsin, to be used as a documentary film. A duplicate of the film will be presented to George W. Hedtke, president of North Central Illinois Steam Power Show, upon its completion.
Mrs. Emil (Ethyl) Svanda of Davis Junction, Illinois, was selected the 'Threshing Bee Queen' of the 1973 North Central Illinois Steam Power Show at Kings. She appeared in the parade, Sunday, August 5, riding in a Surrey, a vintage of 1893, pulled by a team of bay horses. The 'Queen's Carriage' was decorated with stalks of golden grain tied with red ribbons, symbolic of an old fashioned harvest. She held a bouquet of assorted flowers arranged in a small bundle of oats, bound with rainbow ribbons. The bouquet was presented to the Queen by the Ladies of the Hobby Tent. George W. Hedtke, president of the show at Kings, announced and introduced the Queen to a crowd of approximately 7,000 that lined the parade route on the last day of the show. Mrs. Svanda has been one of the leading and outstanding workers of the Kings show and the Ladies Hobby Tent for the past 7 years.
As in past years, 'The Ogle County Liberty Bell Float', led the daily parade at Kings show. This huge bell with its structure of beauty, pleads with us to 'Keep America Free'. It rings out against government controls, which are rapidly turning our beloved America into the old world kind of tyranny, from which our ancestors fled. This show report would not be complete without mentioning the fine out-door church services at 9 a.m., Sunday, Aug. 5, conducted by the Union Church of Monroe Center, III. The Fifty foot rest tent was filled and the crowd extended beyond the sides. We stand in need of more services like this in our great land, a visitor said.
The freedom of speech and services that we all have enjoyed at the Kings show, has allowed us to help preserve our American Heritage by demonstrating old time agricultural practices on a farm in reality. As time goes on we hope to continue with old time agricultural practices in reality, at a new show site at George W. Hedtke's farm, 2- miles east of Davis Junction, III., on Highway 72. Mr. Hedtke is making plans now to build large buildings on his 45 acre farm to house most of his collection of large steam engines, gas tractors, threshing machines, and other large farm machinery of by-gone days. He hopes by next spring that he has one of the large buildings erected, providing the building material is available. This will eliminate the hard work and long hours of moving his large show machinery and equipment each year, and the cost of transportation. Hedtke's farm with about 7 acres of hard wood timber joins the Kilbuck Creek on the north and on the west, and is only a short distance from the farm site where Hedtke staged his first Steam Threshing Show in 1957, one mile east of Highway 51 Junction, on Highway 72.