A purely unscientific polling of the 2003 Farm Collector
Show Directory bears out some interesting facts about our
Using the Directory as a guide, there are no fewer than
12 shows celebrating 50-plus years of steaming and threshing, with
some heading fast for 60. For example, the National Threshers
Association (NTA) will hold its 59th annual show this year in
Wauseon, Ohio, June 26-29, and Pioneer Engineers will have its 55th
annual show in Rushville, Ind., Aug. 1-3, as will Central States
Threshermen in Pontiac, Ill., Aug. 28-Sept. 1.
This is pretty amazing if you think about it for a moment,
because we’re talking about organizations and shows celebrating
equipment and traditions that are little more than a memory for
even a small percentage of the American population. And yet the
memory not only survives, it quite clearly thrives, and all because
of the dedication of steamers and threshers around the country and
There’s a lot to celebrate, of course. For one, there’s
the machinery; this year sees the NTA celebrating 150 years of
Rumely products, while the Eastern Shore Threshermen in Maryland
will celebrate 150 years of Frick.
For the old guard, it’s amazing how fast the years have
rolled by and how many shows have come and gone. For newcomers to
the steam community it’s amazing how long the tradition extends
and how many shows are being held around the country. The dozen or
so shows celebrating 50-plus years represent a mere fraction of the
total, and the number of shows celebrating 20 to 45 years of
operation is nothing short of amazing. If you have any kind of time
under your belt, 25 years is the blink of any eye, but it’s
demonstrative of a community with both staying power and
The appeal is readily evident to those of us in the community.
The challenge is extending the appeal to an even wider audience and
feeding an interest in America’s agricultural heritage.
Building the community is problematic, but if our track record says
anything, it says we’re here to stay.