Big Iron Crank-Up

By Staff
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Jo Ann and Marlen Baerenwald of Jonesboro, Georgia, with their miniature lineshaft steam driven machine shop and replica of a '30s farmhouse in 1 inch scale.
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The 'Big Horn,' world's only horn and whistle museum on wheels.

1052 Calhoun Falls Highway Elberton, Georgia 30635

The Georgia Antique Engine Club and the City of Bowman
cosponsored the 6th annual Big Iron Crank-Up in Bowman, Georgia, on
April 15-17. Bowman is a small community of about 850 citizens, all
of whom were delighted to host the 5,000 people in attendance at
this show.

There were 339 exhibitors from Maryland, South Carolina,
Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, and Virginia.
There were also approximately 1,000 engines on display. It is one
of the largest steam engine shows in the south, and the Bowman City
Park was the perfect setting for the event.

The fun began on the Town Square with arts and crafts and yard
sales throughout the community. A shuttle bus was available to
carry people from the square to the park all weekend. Upon entering
the park visitors were issued a $2 park pass for the three days of
the crank-up.

The coordinators of the event were Lynn Ellis of Bowman,
chairman of the Big Iron Crank-Up, and Wendell Felch of
Douglasville, Georgia, president of the Georgia Antique Engine
Club. They were quite ingenious in their planning, not only for the
exhibitors, but also for the friends and family who accompanied

Besides the exhibits covering the areas of the park, children
could play in the spacious playground. There was a cake walk
starting the day; a big consignment auction in the early afternoon;
a cow patty contest mid-afternoon; an antique weapons display and
competition shooting; and a tractor pull. Bingo was played at the
end of the day. Concessions and barbecue were sold throughout the

Winner of the $500 cash prize in the cow patty contest was Earl
Garen from Pisgah Forest, North Carolina.

The ‘Big Horn,’ world’s only horn and whistle museum
on wheels, was brought by Hyler J. Bracey of Smyrna, Georgia. It
has over 40 steam whistles, 14 train and boat horns, and four
ship’s horns. Many of the steam whistles are over 100 years

The tractor pull consisted of 34 entries for competition, with
all the tractors manufactured before 1960. They pulled up to 4,000
lbs. of granite on a sled.

All exhibitors got a plaque, and trophies were given to the
winners of the tractor pull.

It all added up to an old-fashioned good time with exhibitors
and the people of Bowman forming new friendships and renewing old
friendships. Make your plans now to join them next year it’s a
weekend of fun!

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Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines