7197 Mississippi Street, Merrillville, Indiana 46410.
Myrl Hix of Pittsburg, Kansas had extolled the wonders of the Ozark Steam-O-Rama to me on several occasions. Since Mr. Hix is a recognized authority on steam engines and gas engines as well as a collector and builder of steam and hot air engine models, I felt compelled to make this show a must on my show list.
Leaving Merrillville, Indiana on Friday afternoon and spending the night in Alton, Illinois, we arrived on the show grounds at 1:30 P. M. on Saturday, after an enjoyable drive through the Ozarks of Missouri.
Our arrival was made pleasant by the fine people in attendance at the gate.
The first thing we saw as we entered the grounds was Myrl Hix in his familiar blue bus-camper with his huge array of steam engines under a canopy beside the bus.
Mr. Hix told me that shortly after he had set up his display and started to operate the model steam engines on compressed air, as is his practice, the air compressor he used to supply the air, developed engine trouble. Mr. Hix and Mr. Coy Marriott localized the fault in the magneto of the engine.
Mr. Marriott helped to remove the engine. He then took it down to the town of Ozark, Mo. and proceeded to make repairs for a fellow exhibitor (Mr. Hix). Upon finding that the magneto needed a coil, Coy took the magneto into Springfield, purchased the coil, installed it, and returned the engine ready to run.
We all realize this is not the only case of friendly assistance that can be cited, but it is certainly out of the ordinary every day life, sad to say.
Alongside of Mr. Hix was Francis Sevart & son with their Witte drag-saw and a fine Associated Manufacturing Company engine along with other gas engines which they own and have restored. Francis Sevart is President of the local branch of Early Day Gas Engine and Antique Tractor Association at Fort Scott, Kansas.
There also, bright as a new dollar, with engines was Sheldon Merrill from Warrensburg, Missouri. His Monitor engine and pumpjack, pumping water around a closed cycle was a treat to see. I find Sheldon to be a real dyed in the wool collector and exhibitor.
Nearby was Mr. Earl Smith with his steam engine and equipment in full operation. This, to me, was representative of what shows are all about.
A touch of the past as many of us have experienced, was a wheat grinding mill. This mill arrangement was kept pure by the use of an old single-cylinder gasoline engine to drive the mill.
If you are not careful you will fall over a beautiful array of threshing equipment models owned by Mr. Pope-joy of Tulsa, Oklahoma which includes a model steam traction engine, thresher and water wagon. Mr. Popejoy is a friendly, magnetic personality that I'll enjoy again in future years.
As I walk across the parade circle, I hustle out of the way of Coy Mariott rolling smooth the tracks and ruts made by the operations of traction engines and tractors after the rain.
It was good to see again Mr. George Meister whom I had last seen at the Elwood, Indiana show of this year.
You are only on the grounds a short while when you feel a compulsion to rush from one exhibit to another, photographing and tape recording. You finally settle down to a methodic repeat circle of the show and get to know the exhibitors.
If you attend a show where the Kneppers do not, you make notes of it. This is easier than listing the shows where they are. They do an exceptional job of representing Iron-Men Album and Gas Engine Magazine. They have an assortment of reprints that will surely absorb a lot of your time and you will come away a subscriber of the magazines and/or a purchaser of some of the select reprints. (The Kneppers are friendly also).
The scale Star under mounted engine of Mr. McCauley of Nixa, Missouri will give you a thrill. This is indeed a jewel of a project. I've never seen a Star Model before, but if I ever see another, I feel sure it will not be any nicer than this particular one.
You will get a chance to sharpen your knife on an old-fashioned (let's face it, OLD) straddle seat grindstone driven from a single-cylinder gas engine. The owner has several engines displayed on this trailer and invites those who wish to 'sharpen your knife'!
Francis or Ronnie Sivert will saw a slice of log with their Witte drag saw if you even look interested as you walk up.
Done properly it will take some time to look at every steam engine model on display on Mr. Hix's exhibit table. These models are of exquisite design and built by real top-notch craftsmen. All models are operating on compressed air supplied from the air compressor (mentioned earlier in this report) into a manifolded set of metering valves which are tubed to the respective engine to be controlled.
A graduate of the University of Michigan, Mrs. Blaker was awarded a Masters' Degree from Michigan State University.
Her memberships were with the Fayette United Methodist Church, Williams County Historical Society, Williams County Farm Bureau and the W. C. T. U.
Lucille Blaker served as Secretary of the National Threshers Association for over 20 years. She and LeRoy retired from office in 1969. Lucille was still very active in the organization.
Surviving are her husband, LeRoy, one son William Pryer, Portland, Michigan, one daughter, Mrs. Margretta Rummel, Sebewaing, Michigan, five grandchildren and two great granddaughters.
Lucille will be greatly missed by the many hundreds of friends she made both at the Reunion of the National Threshers and also at the many other steam shows she attended with LeRoy. It was through the ideas and efforts of Lucille Blaker that the National Thresherwomen was formed.
Funeral services were held in the Fayette United Methodist Church on January 9, graveside services were at Danby Cemetery, Portland, Michigan. Courtesy of The National Threshers Association and The National Thresherwomen.
Some of these engines are belted to generators to light miniature lamps and others are running idle at very, very slow speed so the viewer can fully see the movements of the various parts and better understand the workings of the work-horse of the past.
You know Mr. Hix by his bright hat with identification painted on, along with a picture of a steam engine. If you ask this man in the bright color hat a question, you will get the most reliable information possible to better understand how models are made, restored, operated and how they work.
A hot air engine occupies one end of this display table. It is operating relentlessly all day long. Mr. Hix designed and built this engine from data and pictures of old engines of the past. MR. HIX CAN AND WILL TELL YOU EXACTLY HOW IT WORKS.
A Fiddler's contest was held on Saturday evening prior to the tractor pulling contest.
The fiddlers contest was a highlight of this show. It was well attended and extremely well conducted.
These contestants are FIDDLERS of ability. Smooth, sweet violin music, was received with wild acclaim. I was spell-bound by the sounds. These people are indeed 'My kind of people'. I was sorry when the contestants had finished.
If they have a Fiddler's contest next year, we'll be there and I hope there are twice as many contestants.
Circumstances made it necessary for Wanda and I to leave the show after the Fiddler contest, so we missed the tractor pull which followed. We returned on Sunday and this tractor pull was still being discussed by some of the show exhibitors and spectators returning for a second or third day of the show.
I have these statements to make in closing:
Earlene and the Schafers should talk the Kneppers into letting them take this show one time in the future.
Elmer Schafer would enjoy discussions with Myrl Hix, and create a stir with his own fine models.
Joe Fahnestock would like to record the fiddler's contest.
Ted Young and Frank Warnock would enjoy the models at this show, and add some excitement with their models.