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 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.