Growth of a Gathering

Check out how one editor delved in to how The Midwest Old Threshers Reunion in Mt. Pleasant came to be from the first reunion in September 1950.

article image
courtesy of Gas Engine Magazine archives
This farm power house photo was taken at the 1985 Reunion.

In this issue of Gas Engine Magazine, we have coverage from two longstanding events. The Midwest Old Threshers Reunion, in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, and the Prairie Homestead Power Show, in Belmond, Iowa.

The planning that is required to put on an event of this magnitude – during trying times no less – is nothing short of amazing. It made me curious how the Mt. Pleasant show came to be, so I rolled up my sleeves and did a little digging. I thought I’d share it with y’all before you dive into the article.

The first annual reunion of the Midwest Old Settlers and Threshers Assoc. (MOSTA), a non-profit organization, took place in September 1950. The Mt. Pleasant event invitation promised “Cash prizes for old fiddlers, oldest thresher, and the thresher who came the farthest.” They didn’t charge anything for entry, but accepted a goodwill offering to view the exhibits and “15 steam engines to be in operation.” Records show an estimated 10,000 people attended.

MOSTA was chartered the month prior (August 1950) and adopted a most fitting creed: “Knowing from experience that each generation enjoys a clean, wholesome gathering of an educational and historic nature such as ours, the Association hopes to always keep the gatherings like this, where we can meet and harvest the golden memories of yesteryear and pause in our daily tasks each year to visit and relax, always with a thought in doing so to improve the future harvest of good fellowship and citizenship.” This was written by Herman E. Elgar, MOSTA board member, 1951.

The event continued to grow over the years before gas engines took the scene. In 1959, 20 to 25 gas engines made an exhibit debut at the Reunion. Enthusiasts flocked to the show in following years and, in 1985, the total registered engines at the event was 651, a marked increase of 100 engines over the previous year.
More than 35,000 visitors now flock to the event from every corner of the U.S., and beyond. The event that originally took place over two days now spans five and is jam-packed with activities for every age and interest.

It all began with a discussion and a vision in 1949.

Until next issue, be well!

Christine Stoner

  • Updated on Jan 5, 2022
  • Originally Published on Dec 23, 2021
Tagged with: Gas Engine, MOSTA, mt pleasant, thresher
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