Some Constructive Criticism ON STEAM AND GAS SHOWS

By John J. Holp and Jr.
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7543 Delisle-Forman Road, Arcanum, Ohio 45304

While George Bahre of Coulterville, Illinois look over the 80 HP
Case with dual wheels, Fred Nolan of Arcola takes a break in front
of the 25/85 Nichols & Shepard at the Douglas County Historical
Steam Festival at Arcola, Illinois.

A new addition arriving at the Douglas County show in the fall
of 1984: Fred Nolan unloads the 1916 Canadian Special Minneapolis
with 30′ rear drivers and 14′ wide front wheels. Engine
#7720, 28 HP.

As I write this, I want everyone to understand that I am not
picking on any certain show or any certain individual and this is
intended to help shed some light on planning and running steam

I attend several show a year, and I also display equipment at
some of these show. At present, I am on the Board of Directors on
one organization and have been on the board of a few of these
shows. So, on with the story.

1.  My first point is that there is not enough activity
with the equipment. There ought to be more wheat to thresh and logs
to saw. The public wants to see some action with the equipment as
it was intended to be used. Not sitting around making smoke!
2.  Putting large (25-30 HP) engines and large gas tractors
on 22’24’ threshers this is a poor representation of how it
used to be done.
3.  Hauling in machinery that doesn’t run, or the owner
doesn’t want to use, is poor management on the Boards part. The
answer to that old excuse, ‘I don’t want to get it dirty
‘leave it home in the barn so it doesn’t get dirty! I have
been to shows where steam engines and tractors have never moved
throughout the whole show. To me, that is inexcusable.
4.  Organizations paying to haul in large numbers of
duplicates, be it steam or gas, is wasteful. Haul in something
unusual from a longer distance instead.
5.  Using the same engine or tractor on the thresher or
sawmill all day long when there are other engines and tractors
available belting up is part of the show, unless it takes the
operator 30 minutes to belt up then that is another story.
6.  Unnecessary announcements, and jibberish, over the P.A.
system, and very loud P.A. systems are annoying to public and
showmen alike.
7.  Supply ample shade or shelter from the hot sun for the
older folks to rest and watch the activities from, so their stay is
enjoyable. They will appreciate it.
8. Don’t let your show get too big or carnival like. Weed out
kiddie rides (ferris wheels, merry go-rounds), putt-putt golf and
the like. These are not steam and gas show related. I have also
found, in my experience, the bigger the show the less harmony among

I hope I have helped shed some light on the problems of current
steam shows and having attended shows for the past 25 years, these
are some of the observance I have made.

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