Route 4, Morrison, Illinois 61270
The Antique Engine and Tractor Association of Geneseo, Illinois held their 1976 show at the usual spot, the Ivan Wildemuth Farm. The crowd was about the usual size, the weather was nice, except for a sudden hard shower just after the parade on Saturday afternoon, which did not do the show too much harm, just got the crowd started home a bit early. Some of the younger, more hardy fans did not even bother to get up out of their chairs to stop their engines, just sat back and hollered, 'Let 'er rain!' Some of these folks came from parts of the country that suffered hard from drought this past year and they even enjoyed getting wet again. The sun came out after the shower and it was nice again for those who had engines to load.
There was more threshing this year and more steam engines than we have had for awhile. Two Advance Rumelys, a Wood Bros., a Case, the old Frick and the half size Grant Conboy Special which is a very good engine indeed.
The straw baling got a setback from the rain and since the youngsters had their usual good time tearing around in the straw pile, the shower had a good chance to wet things.
We had a new showpiece this year in the form of a one cylinder Fairbanks Morse tractor of about 1912-15 vintage. One can't judge the condition of this machine by its age. It is in new condition and it still runs that way. It winds its way around at a very contented 200 plus R.P.M. and the quiet 'chuff-chuffs' are so far apart, one gets the impression for just an instant, it has misfired. It sort of takes a very short nap in between its easy going efforts to keep on running. Joe McCash is the proud papa at the wheel.
The old Reeves 40 set this one out. It stood back by the com field and watched the proceedings with a contented smile on its greasy old face. It seems as if several folks formed the opinoin it is not in running condition any more, but this old job can fool you. It can set all year and with a sip of gas in each priming cup, it usually starts the second or third turnover and chuckles along in fine style. The fuel lines are out of condition and between his farming and two or three outside jobs, the engineer just couldn't get the time to fix things up.
The old 14-28 Oil Pull with its two ignitors was there in its usual prime condition, just waiting for a tough job to show up that the steamers could not handle.
One of the top attractions at the shows in this part of the country the past year, is the remarkable Erbe Model of a 15-30 McCormick-Deering tractor. This tractor is built to scale and the work is so exact, if I would have drilled one of the holes in the drawbar it would have spoiled it. This little outfit looked cute setting beside one of the very best 10-20s one can find anywhere.
When Ivan bought this 10-20 it was in the shed on wood planks, the lugs were removed and the lug bolts were oiled. When it started, the fan belt flew off in pieces. The old owner exclaimed that he had never had the least bit of trouble with it. It was the belt that was on the tractor when he bought it in 1927. It lasted 46 years - not bad for any belt.
There were not as many tractors as last year, but a few more gas engines. There were engines from Iowa, Missouri, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota and even a few from Illinois.
Our show is just about as close to a non-profit organization as anything can be. The only thing about the outfit that makes any money is the ladies with the lunch tent. Things swing more and more in their favor every year and before long they will take the whole thing over. When this happens you will see all the gas engines mounted on doll buggies and there will be geraniums, begonias and rose bushes growing from the water hoppers, the air-cooled engines will be equipped with electric fans. You will be asked not to walk on the grass, to wipe your hands before you try to see whether or not the crank pin bearing on the steam engines are tight or not, and don't wipe them on the lace curtains that hang from the tops of the engines. Better get here before they take over!
The most rewarding thing about our show is the way so many people come up and tell us how much they enjoyed themselves. This makes us feel good, even if we think you fib a little to tell us so. Anyhow, money is not everything and we really don't give a hoot if we do lose money, so long as everybody likes to come and enjoy themselves watching us go broke.
Next year (1977) when the third weekend in September comes around, we will try once more to see if we can learn how to put on a show. We will want everybody to come and bring some engines and help us get ours going too, so we won't look so bad. The women will have their lunch tent as usual; the price might be a bit high and you likely won't be able to eat it anyway - but come and do your best!