Early morning rain and leaden skies didn’t discourage the
many engine people and their fans who defied the elements on
opening day at the 4th Kansas and Oklahoma Steam and Gas Engine
Show at Winfield, Kansas in September, 1985.
The Cowley County Fairgrounds proved an ideal site, with plenty
of space for engines and the events on the program; areas in
buildings for food, antique, book and flea market sales, and the
big grandstand for the antique engine pull. Unfortunately, the
second day was rained out.
By the oddest of coincidences, the batteries on both my cameras
failed. On one, taking prints, I was able to buy new batteries from
a helpful vendor whose name I don’t know. The other camera
appeared ‘broke’, but I learned about the dead battery
after returning home.
Margaret, who knows about engines from her girlhood on a Montana
ranch, and I both enjoyed the visit. Margaret’s brother, M. K.
Gordon, and his wife Betty live in Winfield. They issued the
invitation for our visit, showed us around and had a good time,
Participation has been growing each year, according to Mace
Archer, a jeweler who is on the club board and does ‘what needs
to be done’ to help the gathering move smoothly. He cited the
tractor pull as an example. The first, three years ago, drew about
15; the second, 30; this year’s 50. He predicts 75 for 1986.
Cutoff date is 1938.
Probably 175 exhibitors were on the grounds, most with gas
tractors or stationary gas engines.
On Sunday, the second day, Col. L. L. Penniger conducted worship
service at 9 a.m. under the grandstand, but weather prevailed
against other activities.
As with all clubs, this one is already looking forward to 1986
with the hope that the sun will shine.
The club drew plenty of attention to two steam traction engines
which were in action Saturday. The club owns one of these, a 1914
Aultman-Taylor. The other is a Nichols & Shepard brought in by
Don Bleck, of Wichita.
More than 70 tractors and other types of equipment were shown in
the Saturday parade. John Logdson, of Winfield, was announcer for
the parade and tractor pull and he gave Stemgas some deeply
appreciated plugs. Participants in the parade included youngsters,
and that we are always glad to see for it means the hobby is being
kept alive into a new generation.
We talked to quite a few collectors. Bill Alter, of Ark City,
Kansas, was showing a 2/5 scale Advance Rumely, which he and his
son Albert built in three and a half or four years. He also built a
half-scale Case which took a year. He paints in authentic
Jack Billings, of Wichita, showed a 2/5 Geiser Peerless 1909,
which he built 15 years ago.
Jeanette Nichols, of Rock, Kansas, was present to take movies in
video for the club. This is her third year on this type of
assignment. The films are shown at club meetings. She takes three
hours of film but says that’s too long for the members to sit
through, so she cuts it to one hour.
Max Lemmons, of Wichita, a GEM faithful, told us he wants to see
prices brought by engines at auctions (We’re working on
One of the novelties of the day was the small green car, a sort
of a cousin to a golf cart, made from a 3 HP John Deere stationary
engine by Frank King, of Moore, Oklahoma. The transformation
required about five years. It has two whistles, one on an air pump
and the other off the exhaust. He could take it on the highway, if
he made a few additions of equipment.
Kirk Hammersky, of Cheney, Kansas, showed five gas engines on a
trailer. One was owned by Deborah Baker.
Visitors included Lyle and Jolene Norland, advertising the
Central Kansas Flywheels on their T-shirts. They mentioned that
their 1986 show is set for August 15, 16, 17.
Dennis Metz, of Wellington RR1, was on hand with his sons. So
were E. C. Hall, of Oxford, and his grandson Eric Hall, of
Walter Reinhart, of Fredonia, Kansas, recalled that the
‘worked here as a kid’ for a dollar a day in the 1930s,
pitching bundles and scooping grain, on threshing crews out of
Among the many other readers and gas people we met were George
and Mary Oiler of Enid, Oklahoma, who collect and restore antique
engines and garden tractors; Leland R. Wells, of Wichita, also a
gas collector and restorer; Kenneth Fiegel, ‘steam operator
deluxe’ and collector, Kingfisher, Oklahoma, and Fayne and
David Beattie, of McPherson, Kansas, gas collectors.
V. H. Stroud, of Hutchinson, Kansas, put in a claim to be oldest
subscriber. He may find challenges. Ollie and Bernice Knepper,
operators of O. K. Books Sales, who represent us at various shows,
seemed to be doing well and we all appreciate that!