John Burgoyne, who immigrated from England in 1965, brought a
beautiful British-made 4 HP 1919 Petter Jr. The engine runs at 400
rpm, John says, and is from the first production batch following
World War I. Because of this, ‘Victory’ is cast in the
cylinder, making it a very special and unique model.
Now a resident of Fort Worth, Texas, John says this year’s
show was his third visit to Pawnee and is the biggest show he
travels to each year.
John also brought a 1/3-scale Monitor vertical built from plans
furnished by Pacific Model Designs of Bend, Ore. As a mechanical
engineer, John has plenty of access to his own CNC machinery, which
he uses to create computer-exact scale models based on kits. This
little Monitor looked about as sturdy as any scale model can be; no
doubt it’s the result of a great model builder and some quality
The Monitor’s plans came courtesy of John’s buddy Bill
Keen, who brought his own fleet of full-sized Monitor engines to
Pawnee. Bill and John (and three or four others at the Pawnee
event) are members of the Granbury Flywheelers, located in
Another treasure in John’s trove is his 4 HP Reeves Pulley
Co. gas engine. Most known for its huge prairie-breaking
steam-traction engines, the firm concentrated on the pulley
business but also produced farm-type stationary engines from about
1910 to 1916. Today, these farm engines are very rare to come by,
but John and Bill both own some great examples of the short-lived
but quality Reeves Co. engines.
John says his Reeves engine was damaged when he got it, and it
required some ‘innovative thinking’ to repair it. The
cylinder was completely broken off from the base, so he shaved off
the bottom of the cylinder and attached a flange that now is
attached to the base. Luckily, that damage occurred early in the
engine’s life, and other than a minor problem with the cylinder
head, the Reeves was in great condition when John purchased it.
Birds of a Feather
Walking along the rows of engines at Pawnee, a sense of
community and familiarity pervaded the atmosphere. Nowhere was this
more evident than along the scale-model engine area informally led
by veteran model builder Leroy Mayfield of Sand Springs, Okla.
Known by many of the scale engine guys as the most talented builder
among them, most of his models are the result of his creativity and
his drive to do things differently.
‘These ideas just start in my mind,’ he admits. ‘I
just start drawing them, not in very detailed form, then I refine
them as I go. They’re not scale models, either. They’re
One of these ideas included building engine cylinders from
Lunkenheimer valves. He says for all practical purposes the valve
engine is just like any other engine, but it’s his own personal
stamp on a four cycle engine. ‘It’s not difficult to
understand, just difficult to get everything in the right
spot,’ he says.
Leroy was joined by his longtime friends Chris Yates, Sand
Springs; Darrell King, Jenks, Okla.; Charlie Ripslager, Catoosa,
Okla.; and Glen Stevens of Kellyville, Okla. They all set up their
tables near each other, often commenting on the others’
collections. A few engines on Leroy’s table were the result of
ideas and challenges from his friends. One of them is a four-cycle
Atkinson engine that another friend, Charlie Kirker, insisted Leroy
build. The Atkinson, in fact, was the engine that hooked him on the
scale model-building hobby. Another engine is a Corliss engine kit
that includes a three-phase electric generator Leroy modeled after
the real thing in Pawnee’s power house.
‘Darrell came up with the idea to base it off the power
house engine,’ Leroy says. ‘That generator took more time
to build than the engine, six months. To get something to turn that
slowly and make electricity was extremely hard.’
Leroy doesn’t keep all the engines he makes, nor does he
sell them. Instead, he’s given many away to his friends at
Pawnee because they all work together on these projects and
challenge each other in one way or another. These days, however,
Leroy’s hesitant to do too much.
‘I know why these surrogate mothers hate to give up their
kids,’ he admits. ‘These guys want me to make a compressor
engine, but I tell them to do it themselves. I just can’t go
through all that heartache just to give it up. They keep coming up
with these ideas, but I don’t want to do it. But I probably
will end up doing it after all.’
Speaking of compressor-engine conversions, Leroy’s buddy
Glen displayed a stunning conversion of his own. Made this last
winter after he was inspired by the February 2004 Gas Engine
Magazine article about Robert Best’s Au-To air compressor,
Glen’s compressor reflected the bright sun light off its
polished brass, demanding the attention of most anyone who happened
by. Glen cast the flywheels and fabricated the head with the help
of Leroy and Chris, and the results are pleasing.
Chris exhibited his own spit-polished brass beauty as well.
It’s a 1/2 HP Standard Cream Separator engine that he
fabricated many parts for, including the flyball governor, gears
and latch-out mechanism. The original engine was throttle-governed,
Chris says, but he and Leroy couldn’t find a picture of the
engine’s governing system, so the pair decided to make it their
own version of a hit-and-miss engine. Another buddy, Ron Meyers,
did the engine’s pin striping based on experience from his
years working on street hot rods. The finished product is nothing
short of eye-popping.
‘All the real fancy work came from Leroy,’ Chris admits.
‘Leroy can build anything and everything.’
The two friends have known each other for 15 years, and the
elder engine statesman admits he’s preparing his younger
proteges to replace him some day.
‘I’ve built some stuff for these guys,’ Leroy says.
‘In the beginning, I had the knowledge and the other guys had
the strength. But I showed them how to do it. I’ve done a bunch
of teaching for the other guys.’
Leroy, who says he’s been coming to Pawnee for 16 or 17
years, worries the day is coming when he’ll be too old to make
the annual trip. His interest in teaching his Pawnee friends
partially stems from the realization he’s getting older, and he
wants to pass on what he knows so the next generation retains his
‘Leroy keeps saying every year will be his last, but every
year when show season starts he gets antsy, just like we all
do,’ Chris jokes.
Maybe it’s the beautiful spring weather and the festive
Mother’s Day attitude that makes this event such a joy to
attend, or maybe it’s the great variety of steam and gas that
draws people each year. In any case, if it can continue to draw the
likes of master model builder Leroy, an English engineer and rare
oil field engine collectors such as Dale, Steve and Jim to this
event each year, Pawnee will continue to be a ‘Mother of a
Show’ for many years to come.
Paween by the Numbers
1968 -The Waukomis Steam Threshering Association held its first
show at Waukomis, Okla.
1974 -The club reorganized as the Oklahoma Steam Threshers and
Gas Engine Association, moving its show grounds to Pawnee,
1987 -The club held its first Case Expo, expanding its grounds
to the south to give the tractors and steam engines more room.
Chaddy Atteberry started the steam engine incline, which became the
event’s signature event and has been held every year since.
2005 – Pawnee will host the ‘Gathering of the Orange –
West’ during its spring show, May 6-8.
Contact the Oklahoma Steam & Gas Engine Association at: P.O.
Box 472, Pawnee, OK 74058; (918) 762-3881;
firstname.lastname@example.org . On the Web at: