The 18th annual reunion of the National Threshers Association, Inc. was concluded Saturday evening, June 30, with a record crowd and record number of fine engines. The weather was ideal Thursday and Friday and a shower Saturday was perfectly timed, coming as it did just after the last number of the parade. Though quite a shower, the barley was not wet enough but what the last load was threshed before supper.
Probably the outstanding attraction during the Reunion, aside from the engines themselves, was the threshing of winter barley which took place each day. This was the first time in several years that the barley had ripened in time for the Reunion. WANE TV from Ft. Wayne, Indiana, took a sequence of threshing scenes, using old Baker No. 1 for power in some scenes.
Sawing was carried on at the Blaker farm Saturday morning with LeRoy's 24-75 Port Huron furnishing the power. A caravan of cars led by MacKeller left the fairgrounds early Saturday morning and about 60 people took advantage of the opportunity to see sawing done and also to view the bronze plaque given by Merle Newkirk to mark the farm as the 'site of the first steam show in the U.S.'
Another feature not recently presented at the NTA Reunion was a teeter-totter, built by Percy Sherman and demonstrated by him and other engineers frequently.
In reporting on the 1962 NTA Reunion, the pre-Reunion excursion to Detroit, Dearborn and Windsor certainly should not be omitted. Forty-eight people boarded a Wabash train Tuesday evening at Montpelier. Eight of the forty-eight were repeaters - they had enjoyed the trip last year so much they were again visiting the places they found so interesting the year before. Perhaps no greater compliment could be paid to the tour than that statement, coupled with the enthusiastic reports all made of the success of the trip. The closing of the Ford factory on strike gave more time to see other sights, and no one seemed to regret it greatly.
Probably the excursion will be repeated next year, and if so, the announcement will be made in plenty of time. Several have said that they wanted to go again to see some of the things they missed the first time. The NTA receives absolutely no part of the revenue; we only promote it for the benefit of our members.
A feature of the parade was a float carrying Lyndon Conrad's miniature sawmill and a large colored drawing of the Port Huron owned by the president, LeRoy Blaker. This drawing was made and framed by John Hixson as his contribution to the Reunion and was greatly admired in the parade.
Perhaps the most interesting feature in the parade was Merle Newkirk's Cadillac convertible on which were seated the bride and groom, Miss Elaine Bandelier of New Haven, Indiana, and Dean Saunders Addison, Mich. This was truly a 'steam romance' as they met for the first time at the NTA in 1961 when Elaine was the engineer on her father's Baker and Dean was running his own Port Huron. Mrs. Leo Clark, president of TNT, presented a gift to the couple from the NTA and TNT, inscribed to 'Miss Elaine Baker and Mr. Dean Port Huron.' The remark was made that Irvin Bandelier was not so much losing a daughter as gaining an engine, and some one else ventured to remark that the outcome of the union might be some little Advances.
Interesting programs were presented for the Ladies in the General Offices building, followed by delightful teas. The Hobby Lobby was crammed as usual with every kind of needlework, antiques, etc. A commendable step forward was made to improve relations between the NTA and Montpelier merchants by running a caravan downtown each morning - Percy Sherman's rubber tired Russell pulling John Maxwell's Joy Wagon, accompanied by Kramer Brothers calliope. The wagon was filled for each trip.
A program by the Echo Valley Boys of Coldwater WTVB concluded the Reunion Saturday evening, with everyone glad it was over but feeling that 'A good time was had by all'.
This was election year for both NTA and TNT. The ladies elected the following: president, Mrs. Leo Clark, Washington, Ill.; vice-pres., Mrs. James Conrad, Auburn, Indiana; sec.-treas., Mrs. Glen Shepard, McClure, Ohio.
Officers for 1962-64 of the NTA are:
President, LeRoy W. Blaker,
Vice President, Earnest Hoffer,
Chaplain, Rev. Elmer Ritzman,
Sec. Treas., Mrs. LeRoy Blaker,
Ohio - John Limmer, Perrysburg, O.
Michigan - Percy Sherman, Palmyra,
Indiana - Harold Gay, Decatur, Ind.
Iowa - Peter Bucher, Fairfield, Ia.
Illinois - Wilbur Collins, Pontiac, Ill.
Penna. - Elmer Schaefer, Yoe, Pa.
Wis. - Gilmar Johnson, Frederic, Wis.
Maryland and D.C. - F. McGuffin,
Homer Holp, Brookville, O.
Ralph Vincent, Bryan, O.
Dean Saunders, Addison, Mich.