Joe Hardin's 25 HP Superior at Branch 28, West Plains, Missouri, last August
Route 4, Box 88 Gainesville, Missouri 65655
Very early in 1988 Bob Moore, Joe Hardin and Bruce Dawson got together to discuss, among other things, the formation of an antique engine and tractor club. As a result, an ad was placed in our local swap and trade paper. The date was set for March 7, 1988 at the Ramada Inn at West Plains, Missouri.
Twenty-nine attended that gathering and much ground was covered. The cost of the meeting room inspired us to seek another location. The Community Room at Centerre Bank in West Plains became our regular meeting place on the first Monday evening of each month.
The first group of officers selected were: Joe Hardin, Safety Director; Gary Underwood, Secretary-Treasurer; Bruce Dawson, Vice President; while Ed Roininen was 'volunteered' into the Presidential hot seat. It was decided to try and affiliate with E.D.G.E. &. TA. An inquiry was sent to Jack Versteeg on March 21, 1988, and as a result Branch 28 became a reality.
We then tackled setting up a show. 'Where' was taken care of when we approached the Board of the Heart of the Ozarks Fairgrounds. The third weekend in August was open, and we were set. Publicity, insurance and activities came next. A shortage of workers was a worry, as it is with all shows.
Time flew by. Showtime came, as did quite a heavy rain on Friday, our set-up day. The pulling grounds turned to slick, sticky grease. Saturday turned out great. We had about 50 gas engines and 35 tractors show up. Not bad for 'first timers'.
Slow races, fast start, or dead tractor races plus pulling was enjoyed by all. Joe Hardin sawed shingles with his mill and traction engine. He also brought a 25 HO Superior oil field engine. Ted Pollak with his Copar Panzer tractor, Matt Heimer ground flour and meal with his grist mill, Earl Henry from Hasty, Arkansas showed up with, among other things, a 'double-jointed' bicycle, the Quentin Jensen's from Pittsburg, Kansas showed up, as did many members of Branch 16 from Republic, Missouri. A good time was had by all, thanks to a group of hard workers and to the ladies who took care of the gate and other tough jobs, a very special thanks.
Next year's show is set for August 11,12, and 13, with plans for a bigger and better show with more displays and activities.
We are very fortunate in having such a good location right on the highway at the edge of West Plains, with the Weigh Station Motel next door.
Meanwhile, plans were underway for a show at Hodgson's Water Mill during the third weekend in October. Time arrived, the Lick Creek Fire Department set up their lunch wagon. Those people serve a very generous portion at a sensible price.
Nature cooperated and gave us perfect weather with fall colors to rival any in the Catskills or Poconos. The old mill is set deep in the Bryant Creek Valley on Missouri Highway 181 north of Gainesville, with plenty of space to set up and camp. We had a good turnout of engines and spectators for a small weekend gathering. Joe Hardin brought his traction engine and shingle mill, Gail and Gary Underwood brought a very well restored unstyled J.D. B-O. The Bill Sterret's came in from Kansas with several engines, including a rare Collis. Allen Howe and Ed Roininen brought trailer loads of engines, some members of Branch 16 dropped by. The weekend passed all too quickly.
Now begins the long dry spell between shows. The third weekend in October was set for next year's show at Hodgson's Water Mill. An earlier show is set for Dawt Mill on the Norfork River, also.
We recently became aware of an unpleasant trend regarding our hobby. Some merchants and organizations are starting to pay exhibitors to show and this puts the young clubs and shows to a great disadvantage. Everyone knows there is a lot of expense involved in getting equipment to and from shows, but it's also part of the hobby. It may put both parties into serious liability as many insurance underwriters will not cover on homeowner liability clause under such circumstancs. They consider any reimbursement or gratuity as payment.
So much for now. We hope to see a lot of you at Dawt Mill, Heart of the Ozarks Fairgrounds or Hodgson's Water Mill. The members of Branch 28 invite all of you.