To spark their 7th annual Power and Progress Show, held July
18-21 at the Perry County Fairgrounds in Pinckneyville (Ill.) the
American Thresherman’s Association presented two new events.
They were so successful, everybody now hopes they can become
The first was an impressive memorial tribute to their deceased
members. The second was a closing night ‘Steam Engine
Frolic’, and added free attraction before the grandstand.
Unofficial estimates set the 1966 attendance at more than 12,000
although there was no way of estimating actual head-count because
of the large number of ‘Family’ tickets sold. Gate-men said
these tickets usually meant ‘carloads.’
Paul Wagner of Willisville (Ill.) president, said morning and
afternoon crowds were as heavy as evening attendance this year
indicating good interest in the daylong demonstrations of wheat
threshing, plowing, and sawmill and shingle making operations.
He added that the daily programs held close to time schedules
this year and that exhibitors and members worked closely together
to handle all phases of the four-day classic.
These steam engine memorial tribute to men who loved them was a
colorful and impressive ceremony in the shady center ring of the
Fairgrounds, directly in front of the grandstand. Twelve engines
formed a semicircle around the flagpole with their owners and
engineers standing at the right front wheels with bared heads.
George F. Bahre of Coulterville (Ill.), secretary-treasurer of
the association, read the list of deceased members after which
President Wagner pulled the whistle cord of ‘Old Smoky’ in
one long blast. ‘Old Smoky” is the treasured 18 h.p.
Peerless owned by the Thresherman’s Association and on
permanent display at the Fairgrounds in Pinckneyville.
Nierman, Herman Flota. Ashley Cox, John Cox, Jack Wollard, Lee
H. Decker, Carl Schroeder and Gerold Blakely. All were from
The impromptu closing night steam engine jamboree was such a hit
it will become a regular feature. Especially amusing was the race
for the slowest-moving engine. The last one to the finish line was
declared the winner.
Dedicated to furthering education on both modern and outdated
farm machinery, the American Thresher-man’s Association has
about 250 Midwest members. One of its goals includes establishment
of a steam museum.