Secretary, North Central Illinois Steam Power Show, Illinois.
The shareholders and associates of the Kings Show, 'King Farm', Kings, Illinois, found themselves more than busy during the past summer despite the heavy rains of record porportion of the upper region of Illinois. The activities started with the sowing of twenty acres of oats in late April. While the oats were growing, committees were formed and the parade vehicle was assembled at Davis Junction on George Hedtke's implement truck. Decorated in patriotic colors with animated historical displays which included spinning wheels, butter churn, washing machine, doll buggy, baby cradle, rug loom, wool carding, coffee grinder, sewing machine, caning chairs, all displays depicting ancient agricultural household activities. The parades that this vehicle participated in were as follows: Rochelle Loyalty Day, Harvard Milk Day, Shabbona Centennial, Dixon Petunia Festival, 4th of July at Kirkland and Mt. Morris. A participation award was received at Dixon for an animated float.
Many meetings were held during the year and committee progress reported. Plans were made with the neighboring show at Freeport about the exchange of various tractors and engines. Work days were set up, meetings with various concessions and food stands were held and soon a truck load of logs from Rockford was unloaded by the saw mill. Thirty-three logs were sawed during the show. The grain was cut and shocked despite the rain and shortly thereafter the tents arrived and were put up in designated places. The low-boys were busy hauling engines, tractors, and threshing machines. Parking committees were busy marking off the parking area. Truck loads of horses arrived, fed and bedded down on the grounds. 'OPENING MORNING WAS HERE'!!!
The officers raised the flag and ticket takers opened the gates, engineers lit their fires, concessioneers opened their windows, horses were harnessed and hitched to the wagons and the advance work and planning was showing its good results. The first of 13,000 spectators came through the admission gate. The camping area started to fill up with people who were planning to spend the weekend down on the farm. The Kings Show at Kings, Illinois presents its 12 main activities on a 70 acre farm.
After a hardy breakfast was served, the first activity of the day was the sawmill operation with sawing of huge logs, of different type of wood, with Vincent Duetch, of Zwingle, Ia., putting on a good show. Sawing continued throughout the day. Periodically there was time out to run a few shingles on the shingle mill. Various gas tractors and oilpulls take turns powering the shingle mill. These tractors then moved over to a buzz saw and cut up the slab wood. As these engines were in use, you'd see in another area a big steam engine being belted up to the Baker fan, while a big gas tractor was waiting its turn.
By the time mid-morning had been reached, it was time to thresh a few bundle of oats. It's sort of traditional at Kings Show, that J. Floyd King moves the 50 h.p. Case steam engine and the 32 x 54 steel threshing machine to start the day's threshing. His long experience as a thresherman shows up as he carefully backs the engine into the belt. Teams of horses are on the bundle wagon and the crowds gather to watch the smooth outfit run. Then other tractors and engines take their turns periodically during the day.
By this time many announcements have been made from our newly acquired speaker's stand, which was a gift from the late Justin Hingtgen Show of La Motte, Iowa. The announcer is calling for the horses to assemble at the horsepower and for Herman Hintzsche to drag himself away from the spinning wheel in the hobby tent to run the horsepower. A historic demonstration is given by 12 beautiful horses owned by local owners, headed up by Tom Hagemann of Stillman Valley, Ill. They power a Case Agitator threshing machine. The whole outfit was built in 1889. Bundles are pitched onto the platform and the bands are cut by hand. Harry Woodmansee of Dowling, Mich. or Old John Southard of Allegan, Mich. hand-feed the cylinder of the old machine.
The other hand-fed machine on the grounds belongs to Mr. Merle Hazelton of Rochelle, Ill. It is a Westinghouse, portable steam engine that is 104 years old. Mr. Hazelton periodically gives demonstrations throughout the day.
The announcer says, 'It is four minutes till noon whistles'. He then starts the count down. At twelve o'clock there's a deafening roar as steam whistles come alive. All activities then ceases and the president, George W. Hedtke of Davis Junction, Ill., has the crowd pause and bow their heads as he gives the noon prayer. After a pause for the noon meal, Herman Hintzsche draws the crowd to the bottom of the hill for the making of woven wire fence and Donald Zell gives a demonstration on rope making.
An announcement comes urging the engineers to get ready for the two o'clock parade. Everything that moves on wheels passes by the speakers stand and is introduced to the crowd at the show.
Upon completion of the parade, the plowing demonstration immediately moves west of the show grounds depicting the 130 years of agricultural progress from the horse drawn walking plow to steam engines, steel wheel tractors up to modern tractors of today.
The rest of the day is spent with all engines and tractors doing everything that has been aforementioned, with the addition of stationary straw baling and the day's activities climax with Harry Woodmansee balancing a large steam engine on a teeter-totter.
People are invited to stay for supper at the various food tents and remain for the free evening entertainment consisting of movies and slides of steam shows.
All day long the announcer is telling of the Ladies Hobby Tent to see the many antique household items on display and of the things they have for sale: handicrafts, steam show buttons, ice cream sandwiches, cook books, pictures and many other items.
The 1972 show was a tremendous success despite the rain and wet ground. Success was due to the diligent, hard work of corporation members and many friends too numerous to mention in this article. To show the appreciation for these people and their work, all workers were invited to a turkey feast and a wonderful evening's entertainment on December 2nd, in the basement of Harm Hayenga's farm home. Seventy two people attended.
Our regular December meeting was celebrated on December 16th again in the Hayenga's basement with a short meeting followed by a Christmas party planned by Emil Svanda. Pictures were exchanged from the Christmas tree by the ladies, and grab bag gifts for the kids, with apples, candy and treats for everyone. This seemed like a fitting climax for a wonderful year in steam show fellowship with our thoughts turned toward the Christmas holiday and the New Year.
Immediately after the holiday pause, show plans for 1973 will commence. The show will be held August 2, 3, 4, 5, 1973 at the 'King Farm', Kings, Ill. Plan to attend and enjoy all these activities.