The Boonville Antique Steam & Gas Engine Club summer show, held July 28-30, 2017, at Thresherman Park in Boonville, Indiana, was blessed with a bounty of Massey-Harris tractors. The club hosted the Massey chapter for its summer show, with planning for this in conjunction with the annual Thresherman Park Show starting many months ahead.
Massey members and Thresherman Park members worked together mapping out the show schedule, display areas, tents, advertisement and other items to make the event a success. And successful it was. From some of the earliest to the last Masseys produced. From some of the smallest garden tractors to some of the largest. From gas to diesel, some still in their original work clothes, some restored to pristine beauties. The club was honored to have numerous Massey owners and collectors on hand throughout the show, providing serial number information and answering questions from visitors who attended the show.
Tractors and engines
One of the rarest tractors on display was a 1938 Massey-Harris Pacemaker orchard tractor, manufactured in Racine, Wisconsin. Only 21 are known to exist. Beautifully restored, the Pacemaker tractor was featured on the cover of Antique Power Magazine, January/February 2015. The proud and fortunate owner of this tractor is John Bush of Shelbyville, Indiana. John also was on hand to help hand out information and literature, and help with registration of Masseys. Hosting this kind of event for the first time, the club was very pleased, with over 100 featured tractors along with all the other tractors, which included Ford, John Deere, Gilson, Wheel Horse and Case.
Every show displays numerous steam engines including Huber, Frick, Keck-Gonnerman and more. The Keck-Gonnerman engines were produced in the small town of Mt. Vernon, Indiana, just a short drive west of Boonville. One of the Kecks, as they are so often referred to in these parts, was a 1915 18 hp Keck-Gonnerman owned by the Devin Hart family. The engine, Devin explained, was found quite by accident while in search of wheels for another Keck. It has been in the Hart family for some 40 years. Devin often belts the engine to the club’s saw mill, as does Joe Dreiman with his Keck. The club also is blessed to have a Keck-Gonnerman separator, which is used to demonstrate wheat threshing. A mainstay at the show is a Kitten steam engine owned by the Huebert and Eugene Renoales family, which can be seen parading around the grounds.
Gas engine collectors pay homage to the show as it is well known for its gas engines, with a beautiful park to display them here in the Midwest. The show has been established for more than 50 years. A special note is in order to thank Bruce Knight along with members of the South Central Indiana Gas Engine Club for helping make the gas engine part of the show a success each and every year.
The Boonville club has always been interested in preserving daily, essential tasks that had to be performed in years past such as blacksmithing, and the club now has a new blacksmith shop thanks to Art Cartwell’s funding and interest. Along with Everit Nix, the club’s blacksmith, they can be seen performing many tasks each day. The club is also fortunate to have an abundance of ground to demonstrate plowing, planting and cutting of wheat with horses and mules. Two beautiful Belgium horses belonging to Mike Ice, Molley and Queeney, do the work. If they could talk, they would probably boast they have been attending and working the show for 23 years! Two mules also at the show this summer were Slim and Alice along with their owner, Delmar Daman.
Visitors to the show are also treated to an original train depot, which was relocated along with the engine to the show grounds. The depot now entails a museum, souvenir and candy store. If you were unfortunate enough to miss the 2017 summer July show, visit us in 2018. Check out our 2018 show date in the 2018 Farm Collector Show Directory.