The 2000 Old Threshers Reunion in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, had its
share of heat with temperatures soaring above the 100-degree mark
most of the week. There was still plenty of action in the traction
steam area during the five days ending on Labor Day.
James Broad head of Colchester, Illinois, supplied the steam
power for the Sears Sawmill with his 20 HP Advance Rumely, better
known as ‘Ol Smokey.’ Ol Smokey shared the sawmill duty
with another 20 HP Advance Rumely owned by James and a 50 HP Case
owned by the Van Vark family of Pella, Iowa. It had been a long
time since we had seen a Case on the sawmill. It did a great job,
and we appreciate having all three of these engines as part of our
The Baker fan and Prony brake both saw their share of action
this year when the temps had cooled a little in the evenings. Tom
Nichols of Eldon, Iowa, had his 22 HP Woods Bros. on the brake for
at least an hour despite the daytime temperatures of 100 degrees.
James Foreman and his 80 HP Case from Batavia, Iowa, and James
Broad head and his Advance also braved the daytime heat to have
some fun. We would like to thank these three gentlemen, along with
Eric Douglas of Mt. Pleasant, for helping out with the efficiency
testing on the Prony brake this year. I’m not sure what kind of
figures they came up with for everyone’s engines, but I do know
they did a fine job. Thanks again guys!
Another attraction enjoyed by our guests is an operating shingle
mill operated by Bob Gilchrist of Marion, Iowa. Bob, the director
of the steam powerhouse, cut cedar shingles twice a day on the mill
with steam provided by a 6 HP portable Case owned by Old Threshers
and operated by Dale Meeks of Indiana.
Jim Huffaker of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, and Herschel Hall of St.
Louis, Missouri, once again coordinated the veneer mill
demonstrations this year. They put on three great shows a day with
power supplied by a variety of traction engines. Thanks to Jim,
Herschel, and all of their volunteers. The visitors of Old
Threshers continue to enjoy your shows.
One must not forget the beautiful sparks shows that several of
the engines entertain visitors with at night. Joyce Hoffmaster of
Dayton, Ohio, and her 15 HP Reeves did a nice sparks show one
night. Ken Huffaker of Mt. Pleasant put on a sparks show four out
of five nights with a 32 HP Reeves owned by Old Threshers. This
engine put on a sparks show second to none. Great job, Ken!
These are just a few steam-powered attractions enjoyed by our
visitors each year. We have numerous engines and volunteers who
help the steam traction area put on a spectacular show ever year,
and I wish I could list them all. I would like to express my
sincere thanks to each and every one of you for your dedication and
countless hours of time that you volunteer for our reunion.