Three generations of engine enthusiasts, Irvin Knapp, his son-in-law Cliff Lafranz and grandson, Duane, with Irvin's collection of gas engines. Courtesy of Irvin Kanpp and Jane Macaulay, Larence, Kansas.
1406 New Jersey, Lawrence, Kansas 66044. And by Jane Macaulay, Journalism student, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas 66044
The Heart of America Steam Engine and Model Association Inc. held its 18th annual reunion at McClouth, Kan., August 1, 2, and 3, 1975. Its popularity continues to increase. Attendance was up to 20,000.
McClouth is in eastern Kansas in rolling agricultural countryside. A creek flows by the site, its banks lined with cottonwoods. The trees were put to good use in the saw-milling demonstrations that went on throughout the three days.
Seven large steam engines were on display, the oldest a 1917 Rumely owned by Harold Royer. George Matthews is busy repairing a 1905 Case engine that should be working in time for next year's show.
A Baker fan tested the power of these engines. Antique separators were put to work twice daily on the field of swheat planted alongside. There were six of these, two of them wooden and dating back to the 1920's.
There were 45 antique tractors, many of them with old metal wheels; six wagons and pony teams; 22 trucks; 15 model steam engines and 160 gasoline engines. All these could be seen together in the parade, held at 1:30 p.m. each day.
The various displays were of associated interest to engine-enthusiasts. These included traps, bridle bits and barbed wire, suitably displayed in the state where it was invented.
In the big sheds that house some of the exhibits through the winter, a flea-market was held and lots of antique merchandise changed hands.
People showed interest in the old school house that has been moved to the site to serve as an office. Weary spectators could sit and rest at the old-fashioned desks.
There were many additional attractions. The Northeast Kansas Pony Pulling Association held a contest on Friday afternoon with at least 25 teams taking part. On Sunday afternoon there was a tractor pulling contest. Airplane rides gave some spectators an aerial view. There was music and dancing in the evenings, with a show of traditional dances by Horton Indians.
Sunday morning the show stopped for a church service performed by Rev. John Bower of the First Baptist Church of McClouth. The first weekend in August is fixed for the 1976 show. We expect another big success.