R. D. 1, Box 466, Oregon City, Oregon
The man who made 'Steam Up Day' famous throughout the entire west and lured thousands of steam engine enthusiasts to his Canby (Oregon) farm each year on Labor Day is in critical condition in Providence Hospital, Portland, following a tragic accident.
Rodney Pitts, well-known and well liked in the Canby area and an active member of the Western Steam Fiends Association was seriously injured on Saturday, when a circular saw mount shattered and sent the cruel teeth of the vicious saw slashing across his face, shoulder and chest.
In preparation for 'Steam Up Day' Pitts and friends were preparing to 'buzz' wood on a saw powered by a steam engine. Witnesses said the mandrel of the spinning saw flew off the frame work. Pitts was struck by the circular saw.
Although Pitt's wide circle of friends were stunned by the tragedy they finished preparations for the 'Steam Up Day' held Monday and broke all former attendance records. An amazing crowd estimated at nearly 10,000 spectators visited the Pitt's farm to watch the old steam tractors pit their mighty strength against each other in tugs-of-war, and field chores. A big collection pot was situated on the grounds for volunteer donations toward what will be huge hospital bills. Three concessions turned over their entire proceeds to help pay bills. The concessions were operated by the Evangelical United Brethren Church, of which Pitts is a member, the Canby Lions Club and the Bus-ness and Professional Womens Club.