9374 Roosevelt St., Crown Point, Indiana 46307
Though the rains continued through-out the Midwest, it did not dampen the spirit of the reunion. A panorama of excitement and preparation could be seen and felt throughout the show grounds on opening day. The 45th annual reunion of the Central States Threshermen’s Reunion began Thursday morning, September 2, 1993. Members were proud to be hosting the 7th J.I. Case Heritage Foundation Expo.
The five-day celebration was well underway and the Case Expo tent was one place to renew old friendships and look over part of the history of the J.I. Case T. M. Company that was on display. Helen Case Brigham, with a host of workers, was on hand to greet members and visitors to the Reunion and Case Expo. Just outside the tent was an eye-catching display of J.I. Case equipment, including gas tractors, related implements, traction engines, cars, etc.
There were other makes and models of gas tractors, other than J.I. Case, all on proud display not far from the Case Expo area.
Among the 38 engines that were at the 45th Reunion were: Dennis Christian’s 1893 center crank Case; Graham Sellers’ 110 HP Case; Mark Offerman’s 60 HP Case; Brian Thompson’s 60 HP Case; Jack Oltman’s 40 HP Case; Karl Kohling’s 75 HP Case; Jim Adams’ 80 HP Case; Jerry Sander’s 6 HP portable, no engine; Paul & Sue Anderman’s 1906 Nichols & Shepard; Bill McChristie’s 20 HP Keck-Gonnerman; Tom Runty’s 19 HP Port Huron; Vern ‘Muggs’ Yackley’s 20-70 Nichols & Shepard; Greg Hilliard’s Nichols & Shepard; Neal Drummer’s Port Huron; Dick Smith’s 22 HP Keck-Gonnerman; Jim Haley’s 18 HP Russell; John Haley’s 24 Minneapolis; Doug Wise’s 1913 20-60 Rumely; Arland Koop-man’s undermount Avery; the Erickson family’s undermount Avery; the Haley family half-scale 50 HP Case; Russ Logan & Peanuts, with their Case; Clarence Eltz’s scale Case; Fred Badten from Dyer, Indiana was there with his scale Case; Vern L. Neitzke of Swartz Creek, Michigan with his ? scale Case; a scale return flue Avery built in 1952; Smith & Sons built in 1954; Jim Coyle’s Keck-Gonnerman; Arlan Koopman’s undermount scale Avery; and Steve Farmer and family with their iron.
Participating engineers and engine owners were pleased in having Amos Rixman at the controls of the club’s Prony Brake. Mr. Rixman and crew also measured drawbar horsepower over the course of the show. Amos also providing a historical perspective to the days of the threshing crew.
The sawmill which is located near the center of the show grounds provides an ideal spot for friends, old ones and new ones, to stop, visit and relax as they watched a variety of power that was used on the mill over the weekend. Each traction engine provided its own rhythmic sound to the show, as the steam exhaust echoed through the stack.
And when the evening sun was low, workers could be seen walking out to the field where the spark show was soon to begin. Few words were spoken, as members found satisfaction in a day’s show well done and watched the burning sparks as they flew off into the night sky.
And at the break of dawn workers can be seen busy preparing for another day’s show. Engineers and firemen are busy attending to cleaning flues and the removal of excess mud from the wheels. The early morning is filled with the smell and sound of kindling wood, as it crackles and sparks in the fire box.
In the nearby distance, day in, day out, from morning ’til night, one can hear members of the Illinois Valley Blacksmith Association as they swing their heavy sledges, with slow and measured beats. Visitors look into the blacksmith shop and watch in wonder at what the ‘smithy’ sees in the hot metal slowly formed into useful and decorative items.
The large engine area was filled with old engines that were brought out from under the workbenches and out of the barn. All were steadily working with that musical chanting of the hit-n-miss engines that draws individuals to hear them talk of yesterday’s charm.
There was something for everyone to see and enjoy. Spectators and members could stop and enjoy the free entertainment stage, walk through the flea market and crafts area, look over the antique cars and trucks, visit the petting farm; both the shingle mill and veneer mill were kept busy making souvenirs. A tractor pull, along with a horse show and horse plowing demonstration, made for a full weekend.
All the equipment at the 45th Reunion was outstanding, and we especially wish to take this opportunity to express our sincerest appreciation to the J.I. Case Heritage Foundation and its members for allowing us the privilege of hosting the Seventh Annual J.I. Case Exposition. We enjoyed the visit from Helen Case Brigham and all our Case friends.
We are also very appreciative of members of the J.I. Case Collectors Association who took part in the celebration by visiting and exhibiting their collectibles with us.