Western Montana Fair Features Engine Display Engine Cook Off Planned for ’91

By Staff

The Western Montana Fair P.O. Box 2310 Missoula, Montana
59806

A few weeks before the 1990 Western Montana Fair, I began
thinking of having watched some old engines on display at other
fairs and wondered why we didn’t have them at ours. The more I
thought of these engines and the interest they received, the more I
decided folks would be interested and it might be fun to have a
display.

I began to contact people whom I knew had some interest in them,
placed a small ad in a weekly paper and finally received the name:
Ted Mahoney. Ted is a gentleman who lives some miles south of our
community who, it turned out, not only had an interest in the
engines but has quite a collection of them himself. I visited Ted
and told him what I would like to do, and he thought that he could
possibly get a few other fellows from the area interested in coming
into the Fair and displaying their engines. We were not very fancy
or formal about the thing, but I told him we could probably get
those exhibitors admissions and a place to park, and if they wanted
ribbons or anything we might be able to do that, although Ted did
not feel it was necessary. I went home thinking that in a few weeks
we might have half a dozen engines-put the matter out of my head
and made a note to call Ted back before the Fair.

It was about 10:00 a.m. on the following Monday when my phone
rang and a gentleman said he was the Ted Mahoney whom I had met on
the previous Thursday, and as far as he could see he said he had
approximately 20 guys wanting to come to the Fair and show their
engines! Could we handle them ? Well I figured 20 guys/20 engines
would work just swell. I told him I figured we could do this. In my
lack of experience in this matter, I did not realize that all cast
iron wheel collectors have an engine which they like to proudly
show off. I also did not realize they each had two or three others
which they wanted to show-more or less their second string of
engines.

It was opening day of the Fair, when 45 engines showed up, that
I realized we were going to have a little larger event than I
anticipated. As it turned out, things went extremely smooth. The
guys had a good time. At one time they had all 45 engines running,
with approximately 1000 people around asking questions. For
Ted’s work and effort in putting the show together, he was
presented with one of our special Director Ribbons for his hard
work. We pay our superintendents a little bit, not very much, in
fact it hardly pays their gas, but Ted signed his check back to the
Fair office because he said we needed to buy buttons for the guys
next year. He donated his stipend for their venture. This year we
will have the buttons, also an anticipated 120 or more engines!
Certainly the interest and the fun warrants the increase in the
arrangements for putting this show together. Indeed we are thinking
this could well be the biggest show of this kind in the state.

When I realized that the engine enthusiasts all had more than
one engine, it seemed kind of odd to me as I do not collect
anything. Then I got to remembering that I have an old Wade drag
saw up at my cabin that I had bought 10 or 15 years ago which has
just been sitting around. I also remembered I had a Maytag sitting
out in my garage. I got it when someone gave it to me, as I had an
old Maytag washer in my yard. Then by golly, I remembered I had
bought a Rawleigh-Schryer. By gosh, I just realized I have three of
them, and I thought these guys were a little on the radical side on
collecting these things!

Well, to make a long story short, I became more interested in
them. The Rawleigh has been torn apart and I just about have it
rebuilt. In the meantime, I got a New Way which is all torn apart
but about ready to be put back together; I kinda enjoy it! (At
least these two engines.) I hope the drag saw will be here on
display at the Fair this summer with the other 120 engines. If I
can find another one, I might even pick that up. Anyway, this is a
new display in this part of the state, but there seems to be a lot
of interest in it and a lot of folks look forward to seeing it and
apparently want to enter.

This year we are holding an ‘Engine Cook Off’ at the
Missoula County Fairgrounds August 21 though August 25. We welcome
anyone who wants to come. Bring an engine or two or three or
whatever you can. Our accommodations are limited, but we are
looking forward to a fun show and one that will be enjoyable to the
public and the exhibitors. Of course there are a lot of other
things to do at the Fairgrounds for the wife or children not quite
interested in just watching iron wheels. Contact Ted Mahoney at
406-642-3776, or Sam Yewusiak at 406-721-3247 if you will be
coming, so that they can determine space requirements, passes,
etc.

I guess I most of all want to thank the guys who participated in
our first show last year, and in particular Ted Mahoney. It was a
great addition to our Fair, and we are looking forward to holding
it again and again.

As Ted says, ‘Keep those flywheels turning,’ hope to see
you at one of the shows.

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