Striving for Realism:

Tazewell Olde Threshers Recreate Good Olde Days

| May/June 1997

12109 Mennonite Church Road Tremont, Illinois 61568

I thought it would be appropriate to submit a few photos of our little threshing bee at the Vernon Koch farm in Tremont, Illinois, while everyone is making plans for next year. We have never gone out of our way to become a big show, or worried about the number of engines or tractors we had. We have tried to remain faithful to the ideals that most of our shows started with: honoring the memory of the threshermen.

You'll see from the pictures that we hold our show on the farm, shocking several acres of oats. They are loaded onto the bundle wagons the day of the show so people can see how they got there! We even leave a strip standing to cut with the grain binder, and give a shocking demonstration. Draft horses always pull the wagons; this way folks get to see as close an historical reenactment as they're likely to find anywhere. The straw stack is baled with a wire-tie baler, and lots of old-timers enjoy helping with these jobs. Oh sure, we cut some corners. All of our bundle wagons aren't steel or wooden wheeled as you can see, but we go out of our way to show attendees the way it really was as accurately as possible.

These days it seems the threshing area of the show is being pushed further and further into a corner by the flea markets and other activities, and many shows don't have the room for such a demonstration as ours. But I hope these photos from our August 3, 1996 show will inspire some of you to restore the threshing demonstration to its place of honor at our shows. After all, it's where it really all began we must never lose sight of that! Our next show will be August 2, 1997. Hope to see you!