Ohio Valley Dream’n

By Staff
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Bob Quigley and family brought their fleet of Olivers.
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George keeping his owner in line, Tom Rohrick having a deep discussion about his Fordson roller.
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Dwight Emstrom brought his offset cultivator from Galesburg, Illinois.

2277 Berry Road, Amelia, Ohio 45102

Reported in Gas Engine Magazine January-February 1972 issue was
the excitement of the first show sponsored by the Ohio Valley
Antique Machinery Association (OVAM) in August 1971. At this show a
dream was started the dream of OVAM having its very own grounds for
shows and other events. Of being able to set up events and
machinery and not having to dismantle or move after the show, of
having a museum and activities all year round.

As years passed the show continued to grow, and the fairgrounds
became too congested, which became a safety issue. The show also
had several leads on big antique equipment, log cabins, other
buildings, and bridges which needed to be preserved on a permanent
location. Something had to be done.

After the 1990 show the directors and members of OVAM seriously
set forth looking for a parcel of land that would serve as a show
grounds and museum. In November 1990, a tract of land came up for a
sheriffs sale.

The ground was perfect for our purpose. It was one mile west
from the fairgrounds and Georgetown, Ohio, with mature trees and
good drainage, and was bordered by a major highway. It was a
beautiful layout for a show grounds, as well as for a museum. Could
this property be the answer to our dream?

OVAM directors voted to try to buy the property, with Shrouded
Machinery offering to loan any additional money needed. OVAM was
the successful bidder. Our dream came true. One week after the
auction, OVAM transported a huge Corliss steam engine to the
grounds, saving it from becoming scrap.

Shortly thereafter, a large 90 HP Buckeye oil engine was donated
by Paul Weber of Winchester, Kentucky. This engine was moved and
mounted on a permanent foundation. And later the mascot of the
OVAM, the 1920 Bucyrus steam shovel, was moved to its final home.
The Ohio Valley Antique Machinery Association finally now seems
complete. The grounds caused a bond and a common goal, and
community support grew with many contributions of time and money.
Sporty’s Pilot Shop of Clermont County donated the money needed
for an administration building and a flagpole. Holt Refakis
Equipment Company of Cincinnati donated a 75 KW generator, so we
could always be equipped with our own electric, as we did not have
electric service for the Fall Festival in October 1991.

At the Fall Festival a mortgage burning was performed and the
grounds were officially paid off. The monumental task of
constructing a show grounds then began putting in water, electric,
telephone service, restrooms, roads, fences, complete camping
facilities, and much more.

It was our intention to do this in a span of four years and by
1995, the 25th anniversary of the OVAM show, to have a grand
anniversary celebration and first show on new grounds, but this was
not to be. It was made by the powers that be, economically
impossible to have a show at the fairgrounds again. The problems at
the time seemed insurmountable OVAM had no chance but to fight or
give up to sink or swim. It is times like this you find out what
people and organizations are made of, who your friends are, and, I
have to add, what antique machinery people all over are all
about.

So in August 1992, OVAM was to have its first show on the new
grounds, no matter what. Quite an undertaking when as yet it was
basically still bare grounds and nowhere near ready to support
40,000 or 45,000 visitors with only nine months to get ready. Let
alone the fact that the next nine months the only weather forecast
was rain. Someone started counting the weekends it didn’t rain;
out of 20 weekends before the show, there were only three it did
not rain! That meant that many unselfishly worked on the grounds
during the week whenever they could. The economy of course was
down, people losing their jobs and those of us with jobs working
longer hours.

With the determination, self-sacrifice and leadership of the
president, vice president, directors, members of OVAM, the
telephone and electric workers, county inspectors, and countless
other individuals of the surrounding communities, the show grounds
were ready for the big acid-test, its first four day show. In doing
so, determining the strengths and the weaknesses of all the
planning and building of the show grounds. One strength of the show
grounds is the ability to shed water. Rain, of course, is a show
killer. We had mild rain and the grounds were wet and soggy from a
year of rain, but the show went on and the grounds were usable.
Yes, you would get your boots muddy-slurry but not to the point of
tromping through six inches of mud, paralyzing the show and not
being able to have fun with your tractors. Stopping the show in its
tracks, as would have happened at other locations, didn’t
happen, even with two inches of rain Friday night. Many handicapped
individuals were able to get around with electric carts or
wheelchairs.

The show grounds are flat-to-rolling with a valley and creek
running through the middle, surrounded by mature trees with a stage
(30 x 60) in the center of it all, making it a natural amphitheater
for the parades, live entertainment, square dancing, clogging, etc.
Other features include streetlights, water, electric, telephones,
restrooms strategically located throughout the grounds, unlimited
primitive camping, 200 camping spaces with water, electric, and
unlimited access to the grounds, and secured parking for exhibitors
in back of the grounds. Also OVAM has purchased a large sawmill and
a building for permanent working display of the sawmill and shingle
mill which will be in place by August 12-15, 1993 show.

The plans of future projects are in process now, which include a
narrow-gauge steam railroad and museum. (We have two locomotives
located to restore but not nailed-down as yet. Any leads on
railroad equipment please call 513-734-2501.) Also there’s a
pioneer village with all the craft shops like the blacksmith shop,
and the list goes on.

1992 saw OVAM start a newsletter, published quarterly or
whenever it needs to be, used to organize and help preserve
whatever we can of the past and make the best use of all our time,
money and talents.

The first OVAM show was a grand success. The support from Old
Iron People all over was tremendous. Ford/Ford-son people trucked
their machines from all over, from Minnesota to New Jersey, Florida
to Texas. Machinery enthusiasts came from all over the country,
upwards of 500 tractors not counting all the other machinery
despite the rain.

Support from the three-state media was exceptional. Many
newspapers and radio stations supported our endeavors. WAXZ Radio
out of Georgetown set up a portable studio and broadcast all four
days from the show grounds. Channel 9 TV out of Cincinnati came out
and took video footage for the news. Ed Johnson of the syndicated
radio and TV program ‘ABN Network’ and
‘Agri-Country,’ did his TV program on Friday from the
show.

Representatives from Cincinnati Technical College came out and
set up a display demonstrating antique aircraft engines. Support
and excitement came from everywhere. On a sad note, many who shared
this dream are no longer with us. If it weren’t for them, Gas
Engine Magazine, and those with vision who got things going back in
1972, we wouldn’t be here today. Thank you.

Come visit us August 12-15, 1993, when the National Meet of the
Massey-Harris, Massey-Ferguson, Ferguson, Wallis family of tractors
and equipment will be featured. Become a member of OVAM Association
or at least get involved and help preserve a piece of history
wherever you are. For information call 513-734-2501.

Gas Engine Magazine
Gas Engine Magazine
Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines