Farm Collector

REUNION REPORTS

STORY ABOUT THE 1972 STEAM POWER SHOW AT KINGS, ILL. NORTH
CENTRAL ILLINOIS STEAM POWER SHOW MOVES AHEAD IN 1972

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.

  • Published on Mar 1, 1973
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