204 E. Melbourne Ave. Silver Spring, MD 20901
One of America’s premier steam and gas shows, the Oklahoma
Steam and Gas Threshermen’s Association’s annual event at
Pawnee, will host the first International J. I. Case Heritage
Exposition on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May 1-3, 1987.
Announcement of the Pawnee Show’s selection was made by Jim
Briden, who is a leading light at the annual Western Minnesota
Thresher’s Reunion at Rollag and is heading up the recently
formed International J. I. Case Heritage Steering Committee.
‘For this first Case Expo, we’re planning the greatest
ever gathering of Case steam engines, tractors, machinery,
collectors and people from all over the United States and
Canada,’ Pawnee spokesman Kenneth Kelley reported.
‘We’re going to have the finest Case show in history next
May, and we want everybody to come to Oklahoma to enjoy this first
of what all of us hope will be a long line of great international
celebrations of the J. I. Case Heritage.’ The Oklahoma
Association has been busy lining up special attractions for the
1987 event. Already corralled is George W. Hedtke’s one and
only existing boiler from the long-extinct 150 HP J. I. Case road
locomotive. The boiler will make a rare visit away from its home
base at Hedtke’s Hickory Oaks Farm near Davis Junction,
Illinois. But, even without ‘extras’ being planned for
1987, the Pawnee show already routinely puts on one of the
nation’s best yearly ‘living and moving’ exhibitions of
America’s agricultural heritage.
‘Just for starters,’ noted W. C. ‘Chady’
Atteberry of the Oklahoma group, ‘we have the full line
‘from the biggest to the smallest’ of J. I. Case steam
traction engines. We have 18 Case steamers based right at Pawnee,
so we don’t even have to haul them in; and we hope to have 25
or more on hand for the 1987 Case Exposition.
‘We’d really like to see Case steam and gas engines,
Case cars and Case machinery coming into Pawnee from every state in
the U.S. and all of the provinces of Canada,’ Atteberry added.
‘Everybody’s welcome in Pawnee, where we like people and
always have a good time at our show.’
A major attraction at Pawnee for the 1987 show certainly will be
the 50 percent incline, where Atteberry (protege of the late E. C.
‘Big Mac’ McMillan) twice daily will offer his unique
demonstration of the tremendous hill-climbing ability of Case steam
power. It’s a daring replay of the event that thrilled the
crowds at the St. Louis World’s Fair many decades ago.
For next year’s Case Expo, Helen Case Brigham,
great-granddaughter of J. I. Case, will again be at Pawnee to join
‘Chady’ on his rides up and down the incline. She also will
be found at Pawnee behind the ‘wheel’ of steam and gas
tractors, riding the 12-bottom plow and meeting Case friends new
and old from all over.
Another big crowd-pleaser at Pawnee is the almost continuous
demonstration of the ‘Prony Brake’ probably the most
interesting measurer of steam and gas horsepower ever conceived.
When the Prony’s maestro (Amos Rixmann of Nashville, Illinois)
and his associates hitch the big belt to those powerful gas and
steam engines, big crowds gather to witness the tests and to be
educated by Amos about how performance is being translated to an
accurate measurement of horsepower.
Other attractions at the International Case Expo in Pawnee will
include threshing, plowing (from a single plow pulled by horses up
to 12 bottoms pulled by steam power), and scores of Case steam and
gas tractors always moving about the Pawnee grounds to entertain
the thousands of people who annually flock to this show. That
‘usual’ crowd should swell by many more thousands in 1987
as J. I. Case enthusiasts make the pilgrimage to the first Case
In 1986, people from at least 25 states and two Canadian
provinces were on hand for the Oklahoma show.
‘This year, we’d really hope to have all of the States
and provinces represented,’ Kenneth Kelley said. ‘And,
we’re looking forward to seeing every kind of Case memorabilia
on hand. Whether they collect Case cars, tractors, decals or watch
fobs or just want to see a good show, followers of the Case
heritage will be welcomed enthusiastically to Oklahoma.’
The International J. I. Case Heritage Steering Committee plans
to schedule a gathering of exhibitors and other persons interested
in the future of the Case Heritage movement during the three-day
event at Pawnee.
Entertainment especially attuned to the Oklahoma location will
include live country music and performances by American Indian
dancers. Persons who drive to Pawnee from other regions of the
United States and Canada will find themselves traveling through
Oklahoma’s beautiful ‘Green Country,’ featuring lush
pastures, productive farmlands and more than just an occasional oil
well. Oklahoma is an interesting and beautiful state to see.
This 2040 Case gas tractor, along with many other steam and gas
tractors, will again be put to the horsepower test by Pawnee’s
popular ‘Prony Brake’ at the First International J. I. Case
With a recently approved State grant in hand to help with the
project, the Oklahoma Association hopes to get track laid in time
to have its narrow gauge steam railroad operating on the Expo
grounds in May. Even without the railroad, Pawnee’s established
exhibits, including a big collection of stationary engines, a
roving calliope, many craft displays and a wide assortment of
operating demonstrations (sawmill, corn-grinding, shingle-making
and dozens of other exhibits), would make the 1987 J. I. Case Expo
With all roads for Case admirers or people who just like a great
steam and gas show leading to Pawnee next May, everybody’s
singing: ‘You’re okay, Oklahoma. . .Oklahoma’s
Those persons who have questions about bringing an engine,
tractor or other appropriate exhibit to Pawnee or those who simply
want to plan ahead for attendance at the Expo and have questions
about lodging, camping, etc. should address their inquiries to the
OklahomaThreshermen’s Association, c/o Kenneth Kelley, Box
211, Route 1, Pawnee, OK 74631.
W. C. ‘Chady’ Attebcrry, accompanied here by Helen Case
Brigham (J. I. Case’s great-granddaughter) will be traveling
the 50 percent incline twice daily at the Case Heritage Expo on May
1-3. His 40 HP steam traction engine is known as the ‘Elgin
Watch of Steamers’ and was formerly owned and operated by
Atteberry’s close friend, the legendary E. C. ‘Big Mac’
Note: The author is ‘Brig’, husband of
Helen Case Brigham. He and Helen attended the 1986 Oklahoma Show to
get a feel for what the biggest J. I. Case event in history might
be like at Pawnee in 1987. They both liked what they saw, so both
of them, plus their two sons (J. I.’s great-greats) plan to be
there from start to finish on May 1-3.