Courtesy of Donald A. Nagle, 906-15th S.W., Austin, Minnesota 55912.
Route 4, Morrison, Illinois 61270
When we speak in terms of weather, it will most likely be a long time before the August and September of 1970 will be forgotten by the people of the western edge of North Central Illinois. Rainfall for parts of this section was in excess of 48 inches. September alone had as high as 18 inches reported and nearly that much officially. One hundred miles east, west and north it was on the dry side but it seems as if the weatherman decided this section not only need ed moisture, but a real good bath also.
Our show grounds for 1970 was located three miles east of Geneseo, Illinois, which in turn is twenty miles east of Rock Island, Moline and Davenport. Our show site was no exception to the general rule, although we were not rained out either day.
Our club, formerly known as Branch No. 3 of the Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association has a membership that holds above one hundred and thirty. They cover a territory reaching over eighty miles both north and south of our show site, which in itself is quite a proposition when it comes to trucking expenses. We have several very well restored steam engines and oodles of threshing machines of all sizes. Some of the best in Oil Pulls, a big Reeves 40 gas tractor, two Averys (for sure) and scores of other tractors. In gasoline engines we feel we own between fifteen hundred and two thousand. Not too many of the real old ones are there, but enough to put on a good show any time.
Along with the bragging however, there is another side to the picture. Our show attendance has not grown in pro portion to our collections. In this territory, beginning in July we have a Fair or a Threshing Show every weekend on up to the Mt. Pleasant Show. Mixed in between or along with the fairs, we have the tractor pulls and nothing seems to draw a farm crowd like a good tractor pull. In 1970 our show was held on the closing day of a Centennial County Fair (with a big tractor pull) and the opening day of another. If we move the date ahead or back it is the same situation from July 15th to September 15th. We are out showed, out faired and out pulled on the date. Before the last of July means to hold the grain over winter in a stack. After the first week of September means that the public has been to a lot of fairs, centennials, sports tournaments, tractor pulls and threshing shows and whether they can stand one more is a question.
Our average attendance has run about three thousand and on this we can put on a good show but not the best. In 1970 we had about half this big a crowd and all we have to say is that it has been our best non-profit show to date.
We will have a show for 1971, but just where or when is not sure as yet. We have no show site of our own and this is a handicap for any show that wants to grow.
If anyone has any ideas or experiences to share on either an earlier or later date, its advantages and drawbacks -- write to us and we will appreciate it. Come see us if possible. We do have problems but one way or another we expect to solve most of them.
Our club is now known as The Antique Engine and Tractor Association, Inc. The President is Claire Farnam; Harry McCosh, Vice-president. Virgil Gerdes, Secretary and Treasurer. Directors are Lester Roos, Harry Mills and Homer Miller.
We intend to have one or two gas-ups every year beside our show. Seems like its more fun at a gas-up with twenty engines than a show with two hundred -- especially if you are on the official board.
Picture shows from 1. to r. a 6 hp. International, mfg. 1924, a 3 hp. International, mfg. 1918 and a 1? hp. McCormick Deering, mfg. 1928.
Six engines from l. to r. are: 11/2 hp. McCormick Deering, 1928; 3 hp. International, mfg. 1918; 6 hp. International, mfg. 1924; 5 hp. Gallo way, mfg. 1908; in rear a 3 hp. John Deere, mfg. 1930 and a 6 hp. John Deere, mfg. 1932.