President, Blackwell, Oklahoma
At 1:00 P. M., August 13, 1954. Professor V. H. Stroud stepped to the microphone and asked for everyone's attention and for all machines to come to rest. He then asked Reverend Elmer Ritzman to give the invocation. This opened the program of the 4th Annual Reunion of the Antique Engine and Threshers Association, Inc.
Every person, as he or she entered the grounds, was given a copy of the days program. The events included prony brake tests, Case Incline exhibition, threshing, teeter-totter, pyramid, tug-o-war, setting contests, parade and sawmilling. Each event was scheduled at a certain time and the event was staged at that time. Several men and committees had made careful preparations for the various events without which the program schedule would have failed.
'Big Mac' of Hoisington, Kansas and his 'Elgin Watch' Case 40 re-enacted the famous Case Incline Exhibition at 1:20 and again at 4:00 P M. Big Mac also did the pyramid stunt with this same engine. It seems a person never tires of watching this pair perform these stunts.
Yoder's 18 hp. Avery Under mounted engine powered the 32-54 Avery Yellow Fellow for the threshing events.
Lyman Kanpp's excellenty restored 6 hp. Russell did the teeter-totter event as well as the tug-o-war event. The tug-o-war was manpower pulling against the steam power of the Russell.
Bill Merhoff of Newkirk, Okla., and his 25hp. Illinois engine gave the 'Plain and Fancy Whistling' Calls at 2:00 P. M.
The Grand Parade was well attended by 20 steamers and nearly as many early model gas tractors. Sawmilling was the final event each day using a 20 hp. Minneapolis engine belted to a Reeves 54' sawmill. Harry Trego was engineer and N. J. Knapp was sawyer.
Saturday, August 14, saw the program opened by Rev. Ritzman at 10 A. M., and the various events were staged as scheduled by program. The highlight, of the day was the presence of Mr. F. J. Wood and Helen Wood, of Des Moines, Iowa. Mr. Wood is the only surviving manufacturer of steam traction engines in the United States. Miss Mabel Luti, who was the first lady employee of the Wood Brothers firm, flew from Oklahoma City to visit with the woods and renew old times with her former 'Boss'. It was truly a happy reunion of close friends.
Soon, Herb Ottaway appeared in a nicely restored 1919 Stanley , Steam Car, which is owned by the Ottaway Brothers. The Woods', Miss Luti and the Ritzman family were taken for a ride around the show grounds in this novel car.
R. D. Yoder's 9 hp. Case with Norman Yoder at the throttle did the teeter-totter event and the tug-o-war event.
Roy Kite, of Bird City, Kansas, turned in what proved to be the winning time in the setting contest. In this event, the separator is set and the engine hooked to it. At a given signal the pin is pulled and the time is checked that is required to get the engine turned around and in the belt and the thresher up to speed where the feeder apron starts to travel. Roy used a 23-90 Baker Uniflow and required one minute and 55 seconds to accomplish the job. His helpers were Chet Sawyer and Lynn Brethouer of Bird City, Kan.
Sunday, August 15, the activities began at 10 A. M., in the big tent with the Association Chaplain, Rev. Owen W. Reere in charge of the worship. He was assisted by Rev. Ritzman. We will long remember this excellent service led by the two former threshermen.
The scheduled program began at 1:00 P. M., and proceeded smoothly to the finish at 5 P. M. Bill Merhoff was assisted in the whistle codes by Mr. Everett Rohrer of Englewood. Colo., who is president of the Rocky Mountain Railroad Club. Mr. Rohrer and Big Mac gave several railroad code whistles.
Herb Ottaway had the Bryan steam tractor in nice running order and he put it up and down the Incline several times. It operated on 500 pounds of steam.
Another 'eye catcher' was Trego's beautifully restored 20 hp. Advance engine. It was painted, polished and striped in every detail.
The Case 110 hp. engine commanded many expressions from young and old.
Among the models present was a Case by Mr. Bolton of Reece, Kan. Jack Kauer of Wichita, also showed his Case model. An upright boiler and popcorn engine was the power plant for a model built by Mr. Jones of Wichita. Walter Bahre, of McPherson, Kansas, presented his model.
The officers and board of directors wish to thank everyone for their efforts in making this 4th Reunion a great success. It is hoped you will all be able to attend again next year and make the 5th Reunion even more successful.