The 1977 show held at Freeport by the Stephenson County Antique Engine Club went smoothly due to the untiring efforts of the many club members and exhibitors from a multi-state area.
Estimated attendance was in excess of 15,000 fans, many of whom were surprised by seeing around 115 gas and oil tractors and 9 large steam engines in operation. Some of these were very rare!
The last few years has seen our “Horse-Power” part of the show grow from a few draft horses on wagons to horsepower sweep corn shelling, threshing, woodsawing, grain loading, baling and also treadmill threshing. You can see all this going on at the same time that there is steam and gas threshing. Hopefully, in 1978 we will also be using a Case slat stacker with steam.
The members also demonstrated clover hulling, stationary baling, corn shredding, and flour grinding of wheat, buckwheat and rye with a pre-1900 stone burr mill.
At the saw mill area, it takes a large crew and the mill usually is running from 10:30 a.m. till 5:00 p.m. with time out for the huge parade. The club’s shingle mill (new to us this year) was restored by a couple of expert members and cut cedar shingles next to the barrel stave mill, which was run by steam and OilPull. The old Stover rock crusher kind of dusted the boys on the Farquhar but being dedicated, they only threatened to throw a granite rock into the hopper.
Across the drive from all this sawdust, was the flea market building which overflowed into Gasoline Alley a bit. We will provide more space in 1978 for you wonderful gas engine friends.
The horse machinery display was one of the largest you will see and is also shown, in part, in the parade. This keeps the fellows busy enough to miss dinner occasionally.
Two antique auto clubs from nearby Monroe, Wisconsin, were in attendance, plus others owned by members and friends.
The club’s newly restored 1929 Peter Pirsch fire truck, sporting gold pin-striping, stole the show. The restoration reflected many hours of work and dollars earned by the ladies of the club.
The numerous displays in the hugh building which also houses our short-order lunch stand and office, were crafts, steam models, license plates, nickelodeons, tools, dolls, etc. This is a great place to leave your wife while you talk tractors and steam to old friends.
The tractor pull was held Friday evening and went smoothly with about 55 pre-1940 tractors. This promises to be bigger each year and trophies will be awarded in 1978.
The club’s blacksmith shop complete with operative line shaft, driven by Stover diesel power is next to the old 1-lunger 60 HP giant made by Fairbanks-Morse. When the air to her is turned on, a large crowd is always around.
On Saturday night free country western music was presented on stage and ended up late inside with several die-hards who simply would not quit. The weather gave us mud only Sunday morning and the preacher for church services was a good sport, being transported by tractor across the wetness of the track, which was dried by parade time.
A big THANKS to all who attended and exhibited and see you all next July 28, 29 and 30 at the Freeport Show. IMA