Amboy, Minnesota 56010
From Hickok and son, Tom, Amboy, Minnesota comes a big, big Thank You to all you people from all over our fifty states and foreign countries that came so far to attend our Farm Fest 76 U.S.A. at Lake Crystal, Minnesota which is about thirty miles from us.
'WE THANK YOU' - Mrs. Hickok and myself and Tom and his family were there for six days of it. It was no less than an enormous exhibition showing everything that one could think of or imagine. As we talk about it now and think of how really big it was, it seems that as many, many engine men as there are, we really had a very small piece of it.
Most of the antiques at Farm Fest were donated for the showing. Farm Fest hauled in and delivered back most of the tractors and antique machinery. It came from all over the U.S.A.
It's a bit different with gas engines. No good engine man is going to let someone load his engines on a truck and start off across the country; anyway we're Not going to! When our engines go, we go with 'em.
We have made a policy now that we think is fair to all concerned. Everyone knows that it costs a lot of money to own, maintain, transport and operate these engines at the shows. We do it this way - if it's a parade on a good will thing, no charge; but if there is a charge of any kind we get paid or we don't show. Some shows are a bit different, as most all the people working there are doing it for free and the money all stays in the organization; they do try and pay one's feast expenses.
To my knowledge there were only three engine men showing at Farm Fest, Hickok & Son showed eleven engines including the 6 HP Monitor. Lori Hickok, Tom's daughter, nine years old, showed her 4 HP Galloway and Little Bill Hickok showed his 1? HP Galloway, air-cooled. Our Little Bill is 5 years old and every bit an engine man.
Mr. Frank Beas from Wells, Minnesota showed some nice engines for a seed corn company. Mr. Beas is a man that every one should have for a friend.
Hank Baumgard and sons, Fred and Ray, had a wonderful showing of beautifully restored engines that included their 10 HP Witte diesel.
Hickok's wood splitter always seems to draw a crowd. Sometimes we even wonder if they're not just waiting for the old man to lose a finger or two-Ha!
I really believe that it would be impossible to imagine that anyone could even show their engines to so many people in the same period of time ever again. The news reported 168,000 gate attendance on Saturday and the engine show got its share. Between the whistle on the old Monitor and the splitter, we always had a crowd, especially when the old man could talk some pretty chick to try her hand at the wood splitter.
The first day was Monday and the tremendous rain made Farm Fest a sea of mud. Tuesday, it was still muddy, but not so bad. Wednesday, we had a wonderful crowd and a very busy day. There were so many spectators, it was hard to get through them to gas up our engines.
Thursday, we had another real big day, except some dirty so and so stole one of our oilers. Friday was another good day with thousands of people and so much to see. Tom took off his job Friday and took over for his Pa. I was all in; it's really hard work with those engines.
As I stated before, Saturday was the biggest day of all. Then Sunday came and again it rained. The gates were closed until noon and it was still a nightmare of mud and water. The crowd was only about 70,000. It was almost impossible to believe that so many people would be there walking around in that mud, bare footed or their shoes were soaking wet.
Well, anyway we ran our engines and split our wood, and changed clothes when we got too wet. It was a long afternoon. That night we loaded our engines and our split up wood on our two pick-ups and our flat bed. We plowed mud ten inches deep to get them out on the highways. We got 'em home and it almost seemed like the engines were even glad it was over. That old saying (there's no place like home) is really true.
Tom had to work Monday, so I went alone back over to the Farm Fest to help Baumgards get their engines home. Again, it was impossible to believe the overwhelming magnitude of Farm Fest. Hundreds of exhibitors, some from many miles away, trying to get in and out of the 1600 acres that incorporated Farm Fest.
Such things as the road block! I don't know how long I waited to get in and out to haul some of Baumgard's engines.
It may be hard for some of you to believe that we meet people from several foreign countries. Two of them were a farmer and his wife from South Africa. We had just a wonderful visit with them and they invited us to come see them for a month any time. Four young farmers were there from Germany and we had a good visit with them. Also people from Holland, Japan, Phillipines, Hawaii and many others.
I really and truly wish that every one of you and your families could have been here and seen Farm Fest.
Now again we say Thank You and come see us sometime, we'll have coffee!