18 HP Cook engine

Jim Lewandoski's 18 HP Cook engine at the 1976 Portersville Show.

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R.D.I, Box 149A, Ellwood City, Pennsylvania 16117

It is easy to sum up the 1976 show of the Northwestern Pennsylvania Steam Engine and Old Equipment Association of Portersville, Pennsylvania. It was wet! But the show was basically a success in spite of the weather, so we are happy. This was the second year for showing at our new permanent home and the roadways and young turf both help up very well in spite of the nearly continual rain Friday and Saturday. Sunday was a fair day weather-size and brought us a good crowd which allowed us to pay our bills with some reserve. These blessings along with the visits with old friends, meeting new friends, and the smell of cylinder oil and steam and the pop of exhaust gives us much for which to be thankful.

We re-instituted our popular Thresherman's Dinner this year served by the Portersville-Muddy Creek Twp. Fire Company Ladies Auxiliary. Fortunately, we had a tent to eat under and John and Charlie Burgh also 'sweetened up' the event with some lively 'dinner music' on an organ and banjo.

As usual the mainstays of our show were the faithful workers headed by Harold Bupp, our grounds committee chairman on the sawmill, with John Fletcher off bearing, Wendell Bintrim and Bud Beiber on threshing and baling, Allen Bupp heading up the railroad crew, Darrel Williams on the model table, and Paul Boehm and his crew on gas engines. Bob Bodesheim did a yeoman job with organizing indoor displays this year, and Wayne Cooper and Dick Wimer headed up the management of the tractor display. Other obvious helpers, both old and new, were Bob Hutson, our new president for '77,' Sam Cooper with his gas pump display, Bob Greer with his 10-20 McCormick powered Warco grader, I and Clara Mae Henry on registration helped by several girls at various times. Our sales booth staff was headed as before by secretary Lillian Bupp with Thelma Downing, Margarete Williams, Mrs. Wimer and others. Carrie Blizman (now Mrs. Bill Henry) set up the sno-cone stand again and manned it with the help of Bill and several of the girls. Bill was kept busy (too busy??) with snocone stand, tractor, gas engines, and boiler firing as I was trying to do about the same and spell him off when he wasn't spelling me off.

Our railroad was relaid with the help of a ton of good used rail for expansion and graded so that it is nearly level and includes a trestle that a car can drive under in two places. Al Bupp and Chuck Burr did the lion's share of that work aided by an expanded crew on a couple of occasions to make the show deadline. Clyde Lightfoot's gas powered train was used this year with hopes of a steamer to use next year.

The Blacksmith Shop was again in operation by Eugene Hartzell, but this time in its own new-old building. Lumber was salvaged from a garage, formerly a cider mill, which fell in a windstorm and along with a couple left over logs from the log cabin for sills became the home of the Smith. Both the log cabin and the blacksmith shop were roofed with cedar shingles cut with Walt and Judd Blinn's mill run by Harold Bupp. It took a lot of scrounging to get enough cedar poles to make them and the use of Elmer Kelly's metal detector to get out the nails, but they sure look nice. A new flag pole, some 35 ft. high, graces the front entrances by the square dance pad. Pipe supplied by Fred Gellner, work on foundation by Wendell Bintrim, Bill Henry, Tom Downing, and a raising by a crew of many, including just enough help from the firemen put it in place. The top is graced by a stainless steel ball, supplied by Darrel Williams.

We were very happy this year, too, that so many of the youngsters helped out so much; and so successfully. Several helped with both the 1/2 scale steamers and kept up steam quite well. One group never even dropped the plug as dad and grandad did last year. Many drove tractors in the parade and just moving around. In fact, I thought mine might be worn out.

The gas engine and tractor department also did very well this year although the weather kept some of our friends at home. Three nice Fordsons were added to the tractor line up. An industrial with disc wheels and solid rubber tires shown by Tom Downing, and English with rubber front and steel rears owned by Ray Stoughton and Tom Downing and Don Martin's beautifully painted model with mounted mower.

The biggest and perhaps most interesting gas engine new this year was the 18 HP Cook vertical owned by Jim Lewandoski of Beaver Falls. It joins the permanent display of large engines with the 13 HP Ball and 20 HP Reid.

Well I'm sure I've missed some aspect of the show and some helpers and I hope there are no ill feelings, but I think this report has gone far enough. We hope to welcome our old friends and some new ones to our 1977 activities May 20-21-22 for spring gas up and swap meet and August 4,5,6,7 for our threshing and sawmilling show, our first with four days.