THE CONVENTION WAS held July 27 and 28, 1957 at Montrose, Michigan on the Gerald Payne farm, and was a huge success with between seven and eight thousand visiting us in the two days. Several of our good friends from Canada visited us and we were very glad to see and talk to them.
Instead of a program, we saw to it that something was going on all the time. The thing that helped this along was our very large variety of steam and except for the Baker Steam Tractor and Caliope, every entry at the convention, belonged to one of our members.
We had several show-stoppers One was the quarter-size Case that belongs to Gordon Smoke. Gordon would hook up to the Baker fan or the small sawmill and although it wouldn't handle it like the big ones, it sure gave them both a good workout.
Carl Johnson with his 19 hp. Port Huron and separator, as always, put on a first class show. Orville Estes and his boat was busy all of both days as was Philip Arnold and his Stanley Steamer.
Harry Forshee (with his handle-bar moustache) and his 20 hp. Advance. Floyd Coats and his Baker, Gerald Payne and his 50 Case, kept the crowd busy both days looking at them on the saws and fans.
Fred Stuck and his 50 Case with the Wabash L whistle really made himself heard. Howard Shaw spent two weeks getting Marvin Shetler's Stevens in shape and it looked like a brand new engine. Howard really made the old boy do its stuff.
Another show-stepper and a favorite with the younger set was Harold Reamer's half-size Case. The Murphy Bros. and their Baker steam tractor was something everyone stopped to look over.
Besides this array of traction engines, we gave most everyone a ride on one of the two trains. Seeley Randall's 7' gauge and Arville Anderson's 15' gauge locomotive did a land office business and attracted more than their share of the attention.
It took four good people, Wesley Trathen and wife and Donald Massay and wife, to operate the steam pop corn machine, but really did a fine job.
Then we had models by the hundreds. Morris Grenshaw and his 1' scale Case; Chas. Mott and his 4' gauge 4-8-4 N.Y.C. Loco; and the other boys and their stationary engines, all shapes and sizes.
We had lots of comments about our not having a program, but the majority praised our idea of not having a program but instead having something going on all the time. No engines were allowed to bunch up. Models were set up all over the field. The trains were set up away from the traction engines. The eating tent was set up in one corner of the field. It kept the crowd scattered and everyone had a chance to look everything over, and when you have 7,000 people, you do have a crowd.
A 'Headquarters and Information' tent was set up close to the entrance from where all activity was directed and complaints listened to. All in all, it was a great convention and we have already started plans for our third Annual Convention in 1958.