Louie Avenue, Bluford, Illinois 62814
This year's show July 8, 9, 1978 will be our fourth show held again in the shady woods on the Lee Donoho farm near Bluford, Illinois. We have an ideal midwest location near the crossing of 1-57 and 1-64, plenty of shade, good meals and entertainment with most of the work being done by the local Ruritan Club.
Our first show held July 13, 14, 1975 started us off with an immediate success. It began with a bicentennial theme parade, flag raising ceremonies by the American Legion and engines coming in from six states, many who set up already Friday evening, among them was Jerry Weber from Lewisport, Kentucky, with a fine display of original engines. Andy Kruse from Park Ridge, Illinois was there with his rare upside down Temple Pump Company engine. Also Marvin Frahm from Newman, Illinois with a fine Maytag engine display. Marvin inquiring from everyone about a fruit jar. One elderly lady told him she had two bushel at home-both regular and large mouth, (Maytag made an engine known as the Fruit Jar).
Exhibitors came from 7 different states for the 1976 show which brought in 'Big Bertha' a 90 HP Pattin Brothers one cylinder hit and miss engine. Some fellows came all the way up from Texas via Missouri, had to see to believe that we had one bigger than in all of Texas oil fields.
When 'Big Bertha' fired off she literally shook the squirrels out of the trees, actually one missed its jump and hit the ground a running. Late Saturday evening 'Big Bertha' blew a mixing chamber 'head gasket,' exhaust was also slapping the ground and the tree limbs overhead. Everyone was disappointed as they were hoping to see the big engines exhaust blaze after dark. No one needed to despair as help and advise drifted in from all directions, Jack Bush with a ?' socket set, Jack and his brother, Vernon, grew up in a pumper's shanty in the early oil fields near Stoy, Illinois. With the absence of a large enough piece of gasket, a score of engine men were down on their knees tediously laminating one out of cardboard and screen wire that Leroy Ubank of Willow Hill, Illinois had ripped off a chicken coop across the field. The mumbling that arose from the huddle alternated from 'It will' and 'It won't' work. Sillently a shadow was cast over the huddle and all looked up to see a great big thick sheet of beautiful marlite gasket material held in the outstretched hand of Gene George of Paducah, Kentucky. He said 'If you all will put this gasket in that engine, I will give it to you,' and put it in we did.
With 'Bertha' blazing away in the night, all the smiling mechanics stepped a few yards to Herman Calverts' gas powered Maytag washer puttin' along with water and homemade lye soap. They stuck their greasy arms in up to their elbows for the clean-up job. No doubt the clothing being washed took on shades of gray, some say it was oversize ladies undies Herman was washing, but we doubt that as Herman is a bachelor and a jolly good fellow from Newton, Illinois, who makes all the engine snows in this part of the country.
The 1977 show, also a great success, despite heavy rains around the area. We managed to thresh wheat as in previous years, thanks to Walt Townsend, of Jeff, Illinois, for supplying an excellent binder and thresher.
Jim Steffy local engine man delighted the children by hauling them around the show grounds in a wagon pulled by his newly restored antique John Deere tractor. There were two steam operated saw mills in operation at the show and as in previous years the American Thresherman's Association rolled in with a big steamer on their low boy tractor trailer on Sunday.
Each year the show has an excellent flea market with many engines sold and traded. One engine man reported counting over 60 one cylinder magnetoes offered for sale.
Long distance recognition for the 1977 show goes to exhibitor, Larry Brown, from Dovens, California and to Mr. & Mrs. Guy A. Winch of Buffalo, New York who traveled approximately 700 miles to spend the weekend at the show.