Darke County Association's Reunion

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4777 Upper Valley Pike Dayton, Ohio 45424

Those who attended the 1992 36th annual Darke County Steam Threshers Association Reunion were not disappointed; there was plenty of rain and a record amount of equipment. The 30 to 35 steam engines came from as far away as central Michigan.

Buzz Nealeigh, the president had his officers and trustees taking care of every detail. Kim Besecker, vice president, made certain the steam engines were putting on a fine show. As an added attraction, people could see flues being put in Dave Kemler's 30 HP Advance engine. Floyd Seman furnished the wheat from his farm for threshing. The beautiful 6 HP Advance demonstrated its power on the belt. The Holps have long been a part of this show, and Harold brought his 20 HP and 16 HP Advance and Johnny Holp kept his 20 HP Advance busy.

At these shows one can see some wonderful creations by highly skilled craftsmen. Ted Wiant was there from Laura, Ohio, with his half scale Case roller which he built, boiler and all, except gauges. It took him five months. He also had a tank wagon, box bed wagon and thresher all half scale and beautiful.

The rain didn't interfere with the activities and thousands of people came through the gates. Cockshutt tractors and equipment were featured and this brought out 46 of these tractors. Ernest Poeppelman, long known for his beautifully restored Cockshutt tractors, volunteered to be the host and he did a fine job assigning spots for displays and welcoming the people. I appreciated his putting my Wheatland Cockshutts 550, 560, and Super 570 in front of the hospitality tent. That was the first time people had seen tractors like these to gether. Jeff and Opie Gravert brought their Cockshutt 20 from Central City, Nebraska. Of course, Bob and Anna May Schwaduer were kept busy answering questions since they had a dealership many years and are very knowledgeable.

One has to be a dedicated collector to bring five tractors from the Louisville area, and that is what Paul Schnieder of Coryden, Indiana, did. There were those who tried to buy a rare Golden Arrow from Gary Bader, Marion, Ohio, since he has two.

There was a good display of Case equipment, which isn't surprising since Buzz collects this make. Tom Unger was there with his Case touring car and the crowd always enjoys seeing this at the many shows that Tom attends. Bill Sheard, an officer of the Southwest Ohio Club, brought his unusual 1957 Case Terratrac crawler.

Ralph Ney had his very nice Case L for people to see, and Ed Evans, president of the Dayton Club, had his stand with caps and shirts to sell.

There was a group around Paul Jacob's beautiful and extremely detailed two-foot model of a Huber steam engine and he made everything except the dime size steam gauge.

Bud Stephenson and his wife were kept busy making beautiful boards out of walnut logs with their 25' band sawmill. This type sawmill is slower than the circle saw, but makes less sawdust and the boards are more uniform.

The spectators were very interested in the many models of hot air engines they saw running on Albert Anderson's trailer. He made them all from pictures in magazines.

Bill Thiel brought his unusual collection for the first time from Carrolton, Illinois. He had all his things on a cleverly designed trailer with sides that open up to give a good view of hundreds of items. One couldn't remember it all but everything was unique, or rare, such as a Maytag fruit jar washer, Maytag racer, Mogul 1 HP, New Holland ? HP.

David Fetter's Belgian team, along with eight other teams, were kept busy four days hauling people and wheat for threshing. What an easy way to see the show sitting on a wagon being pulled by beautiful horses.

It was an unusual sight to see Dale Zimmer's five-year-old team of Dutch belted steers pulling the wagon around the show. A yoke of steers always adds to a steam and tractor show and these belted steers, Ben and Chaz, seemed to enjoy the attention they got.

If the wives didn't appreciate the engines, then they could browse around the 300 vendors at the show.

The Army National Guard was on hand with a big 10-ton GMC truck with a Detroit V8 diesel engine. The young men seemed very interested in their work.

The dedicated staff and officers of the Greenville show always ensure that those attending will enjoy what they see and the shade of the giant trees on the fairgrounds. The hundreds of flywheelers and over 300 tractors ensure everyone's favorite brand is on hand.

Have things changed over the years at Greenville? If one walks to the south side of the grounds, from a distance things haven't changed in 30 years; we have the steamers putting out black smoke, men in bib overalls running about, threshing and saw milling looks the same. But on close examination, one doesn't find Charlie Ditmer and Homer Holp and their buddies. They have gone to the great show in the sky.

But we turn our back on this and walk north into the tractor area, what do we see? We very rarely see a steel wheel hand crank tractor of the Twenties. Thirty years ago, a tractor forty years old would have been built in the Twenties, and would not have rubber tires or a starter.

What about now-a forty year old tractor would have been built in the Fifties, with nice cowling, hydraulic seat, lights, starter and rubber tires. To a young farmer today his Farmall M is an old, old tractor. So we old duffers will have to stop shaking our white heads and clicking our dentures and go with the flow!

In October I went to China and in May I went to Russia. In China the people are beautiful, well dressed, well fed, busy, with adequate housing and plenty of work. I was impressed-things look good. In Russia things are sad looking. Buildings and roads in need of repair. People can't earn enough to live- they're very nice people but the ethnic groups hate each other. The average