Star Rt. Box 12, Gainesville, TX 76240.
In early April of 1986 a number of ! farmers and other antique enthusiasts in the Cooke County area got together to form a machinery club and organize an antique show for the north Texas area.
A number of us had been attending shows for years and thought we had the general guidelines for putting on a good show, so we gave it a shot on September 14, 1986. Because we had good attendance and about 400 spectators for our first threshing show we decided to do it again and on August 29th and 30th of 1987, we held our second annual machinery show.
At about 7 A.M. Saturday, August the 29th, our exhibitors started getting ready. Wilbur DeBorde was busy firing the Case 60 horsepower steam engine while countless other exhibitors were preparing for the day. Don and Ed Schad Jr. were busy leveling and positioning their Case 28 by 47 separator. Other members were placing numbers and taking information on machines to be exhibited and paraded. Some eighty tractors and countless other machines ranging in years from a 1905 Eagle Hay Press owned by Doug Martin and Leon Knauf to a huge 30-60 Aultman Taylor owned by Doc Swalwell of Dallas, Texas.
The small tractor pull arena became a stir of curiosity by 10 o'clock that morning with exhibitors and spectators walking and checking everything over. Approximately fifty small engines of the hit and miss variety were present and truly amazed many people who had never seen an engine run this way.
The threshing machine owned by Don and Ed Schad Jr. and powered by a WK40 McCormick-Deering owned by Henry Hess Jr. of Lindsay, Texas, seems to have drawn the most attention at the show and it is interesting to stand by and listen to some of the older fellows that used the machines in their time of popularity. It seems that when one listens, he hears the same quote, 'Oh, by about 9 o'clock or 10 o'clock we would generally throw a couple of bundles in cross wise to choke the machine down and put an end to the day.'
Generally one hears that quote with more colorful words added in. Needless to say, we threshed about an acre of bundled wheat and oats provided by Harold Corcoran and Don Schad, both of Gainesville, Texas.
We had three hay presses, the Eagle, being mule-powered was used and two power presses were also run. One being a Case baler and the other an Ann Arbor, both of these balers owned by John and David Matthews of Gainesville, Texas.
The threshing machine and balers were run intermittently all day long as were other exhibits ranging from grist mills to corn shellers and other small machines including a gas powered Maytag washing machine owned by Paul Becker of Muenster, Texas.
Two events that we have that are really enjoyable to watch are the kill race and the slow race.
The kill race requires that several tractors be lined up with the operators seated and the tractor engine not running. At the drop of a flag the operator jumps off, starts the tractor by cranking only, returning to the seat and racing to the finish line. On the first day of our show, a 1952 VC Case owned by Sam and Nick Hess won and the following day, a WC Allis Chalmers owned by Vic Koelzer was the winner.
The slow race is equally interesting because it is comical to watch an operator try and talk his tractor into idling just a bit slower and still not die. This race was won on both days by a Thirty Caterpillar owned by Paul Becker of Muenster, Texas. A WK40 McCormick-Deering owned by Henry Hess Jr. of Lindsay, Texas, gave it a close race. During this race it was surprising to learn that the impulses on the magnetoes of both tractors would occasionally click in.
Our second show was a great success with about 1100 spectators. The exhibitors had an enjoyable two days also but anyone who participates in a show knows it to be lots of work, but it is very much worth it. We hope to draw more exhibitors and spectators next year and every year to help preserve a part of American agriculture that should never be lost or forgotten.