A good view of Zehr's Central States Reunion in 1951. This picture is over a year old but it is so good that we felt it would be of interest to reproduce. The picture is courtesy of Mr. J. D. Roberts. Away from home Mr. Roberts operated railroad steamers
August 7, 1952 found a bright Kansas sun shining at the Joyland Park, Wichita, and on a collection of antique tractors that had been assembled for this meet from many miles around. Not all were in the 'pink' of condition but if they each had a little 'time to talk could no doubt paint a vivid picture of their bright birthday colors and would also inject into this report many tales of long and faithful service.
However, the tales soon began to appear as the threshermen began to swap stories. And what thresherman can't swap a dozen stories in 30 minutes?
That Kansas sun also found a 'new' object on the grounds. New to the extent that this act had never been staged since the Case Company discontinued it in the early 20's when the gas tractor began to overrun the priaries. It was the Incline. Built by the members of the association to the exact specifications found in a 1906 Case Field Facts catalog, and what a sight! Especially if one had never seen it before. This incline has a 12 foot rise in 21 feet. Or in other words the night angle of this triangle has legs 12 feet and 21 feet.
At 11 A. M., a whistle blast by Geo. Arnett and the little 6 hp. Nichols and Shepard signaled the opening of the meet, together with a prayer led by Rev. Elmer Ritzman. Then the little Nichols and Shepard started the 20 inch hand fed Case thresher and the music was on.
E. C. (Big Mac) McMillan of Hoisington, Kansas, was grooming his trusty 40 Case in the Shade of the trees for a try at the big hill. Many remarks were heard about this incline. Soon 'Big Mac' was ready to 'get the feel' of his engine on this boardwalk and after a few thrilling moments the Case and Eagle Mac were on top. A roar went up from the crowd and the famous Case stunt was re-born.
Soon the 36x60 Rumely thresher was in motion. Later the engines were taking their turns tugging at the Prony brake.
The Bryant steam tractor owned by the Otto ways was a point of high interest and it was glistening in its new paint Job. This is probably the only one of these tractors left for operating, and it is a fine specimen. It carries 600 lbs., pressure and has a condenser. The burner is fired with kerosene and has a double simple engine connected to a spur gear transmission. Both engines and transmission are completely enclosed in an oil bath, as far as that goes the burner is enclosed also, all of this together the Bryan gives a very mice appearance.
Finally Herb Otta way got a chance at the incline with the Bryan and up the hill it went with no apparent effort but everyone knew it took nothing but power and plenty of it to get on top.
The incline men both reported that it was harder and more frightening to come down than it was to go up. And it surely was as the writer saw both of them aorta burn the planks of Cottonwood lumber in the act of getting back to earth.
The second was much the same as the first in respect to the events on the program - incline, threshing, brake testing and visiting.
An event of this day was the arrival of Kenny Reynold's beautifully restored 20-75 N and S and the unloading of the sleeping beauty. Knapp's 25-75 Russell was hitched to it to move it off the low boy trailer. Kenny fired up his beauty and belted it to the 36-60 A and R thresher.
Another event of the day was the arrival of F. J. Wood and his daughter Helen. Mr. Wood and Abner Baker are the only living manufacturers of steam traction engines. Mr. Wood was pleased with the Ottaway boy a Wood Bros, engine No. 331 and even demonstrated to the crowd that the Wood Bros, engine would not stoop on center. 'I made it that way' he proudly reported.
August 9th found another beauty on the grounds. It was R. D. Yoder's 9 hp. Case trusted to the care of Mr. Stroud, the 'Steam Hawk' of Hutchinson, Kan. This 9 hp. Case came from Washington via truck not long prior to the meet. With this engine every size of the Case traction line was represented except the 110 hp.
A parade and line up of engines was staged from the smallest, which was Mr. Good ban's little Model, to the largest according to H. P.
August 10th, the last day, saw the largest crowd of any day in attendance and a full round of activity; the incline stunt, the brake, threshing and steam plowing. The plowing event was staged with the Ottaways 65 Case and 8 bottom plow-- something not seen every day. The engine performed nicely and several movie cameras were in operation.
On the brake the 75 Case operated by Chadwick Attebury emerged the winner with 109.9 hp. about 5 hp. over the Knapp 'mighty' Russell. Both engines were operating close to normal speed and pressure as advertised by the manufacturer.
As the sum slid down behind the trees the curtain dropped on the 2nd meet and folks had time to take stock or analyze the meet.
It was a good show; good enough to draw visitors from many states. Probably the furtherest being Washington, unless Rev. Elmer came further. But the show was not so good that it cannot be improved. So you can expect an improved meet next year. I'm sure one of the big attractions will be a 110 Case so plan to came again and enjoy the fun.
Models at the meeting were A. J. Goodban's; Clarence Mirtz, Reeves; and Herb Ottaway's 65 Case.
The business meeting was held August 8th. Leroy Blakers motion pictures were shown the nights of the 8th and 9th and also shown were Kenny Reynolds pictures of the first meet held last year.