Midwest Old Threshers 42nd Reunion

By Staff
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The gas engine area at the Reunion had a record breaking 928 engines on display providing visitors with a first hand example of how gas engines were used as power sources both on the farm and in small businesses.
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There were many fine expamples of Case tractors on display at the 42nd annual Reunion commemorating the 5th Annual International J. I. Case Heritage Exposition.

Midwest Old Threshers Threshers Road, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa 52641,
Photos by Jim Adams.

The 1991 Old Threshers Reunion was among the biggest events in
the history of the Association, recording the second highest
attendance figures of the past decade.

Rains which fell during the event, failed to dampen the spirit
of those attending or cancel scheduled events. It was the first
reunion for several years to have all five Cavalcades of Power,
along with both tractor pulls and the horse pull.

Tanya Tucker, scheduled to perform on Sunday evening, was forced
to cancel her appearance in Mt. Pleasant for health related
reasons. The Don Romeo Agency from Omaha, Nebraska found .
replacement acts for Tucker and provided excellent shows for the
reunion visitors.

‘By-and-large the 1991 Old Threshers Reunion was one of the
smoothest events ever held,’ said Lennis Moore, the
organization’s administrator. ‘The Board of Directors did
an excellent job of planning for this event and every one of them
had their responsibilities well coordinated. In addition, our
volunteers turned out in force to complete every task efficiently
and with great expertise.’

The Case Expo also had a very positive impact on the 1991 Old
Threshers Reunion. Held in conjunction with the Reunion, the Expo
was the fifth annual meeting of the International J. I. Case
Heritage Foundation. The Expo was placed east of the tractor area
in a large tent with a backdrop of over 60 flags representing the
fifty states, twelve Canadian provinces, and five foreign
countries. The area was always filled with people and there were
excellent exhibits of steam engines, tractors, Case cars, and
related memorabilia.

Unfortunately, Helen Case Brigham and her husband, Arthur, were
unable to attend the Expo. Arthur underwent emergency surgery just
prior to the Reunion. ‘We were all very disappointed that Helen
(great-granddaughter of J. I. Case) could not be with us for the
Reunion,’ Moore said.

Case Expo people stepped in at the last minute to coordinate the
on-site operations for the Expo: The John Fry’s, Kenneth
Kelly’s, and Chady Atteberry’s all pitched in and did a
wonderful job. (Note: Although Arthur Brigham’s surgery was
successful and he spent several months at home undergoing therapy,
he did pass away on January 22.)

All exhibitor areas saw increases in the number of exhibited
units and the quality of machines on display. The traction steam
area contained one of the best collections of Case engines ever
assembled at Mt. Pleasant. One of the main attractions in the steam
area was the center crank Case owned by Midwest Old Threshers and
totally restored by Director Wayne Kennedy and some dedicated
volunteers. Kennedy was at the throttle for the Cavalcade of Power
opening day of the Reunion and was presented a plaque to be mounted
on the engine. The plaque designated the engine as one of the many
projects funded by the Old Threshers Foundation. Kennedy was also
commended for his hard work over the past two years involved with
completing the project.

The tractor area exhibited 375 antique tractors all of which
were of the 1939 unstyled or older vintage. The Case Expo did
increase the number of Case tractors exhibited, but there were
several other brands that also were brought to Mt. Pleasant. The
two antique tractor pulls played to excellent crowds of people who
enjoyed watching the old tractors show off their power. In addition
to the tractors, several steam engines and engine models pulled for
the enjoyment of the audience. Tractor Director Elmer Geigle and
Steam Director Mike Parker did an excellent job of coordinating
their areas and working with the Case Expo people.

Members of the S. E. Iowa Antique Car Club continued their long
tradition of showing excellent cars and trucks. Antique cars
provided transportation on the main grounds for several special
events, including the Old Threshers Awards, the 50th Wedding
Anniversary Celebration, and the Sweet 16 Recognition Ceremony. The
club has always been known as a ‘working’ club in that the
cars are not strictly ‘show’ cars, but are taken out and
driven by the owners. Members of the club added to the tractor pull
festivities by dismantling and then rebuilding a Ford Model T in
less than thirty minutes.

The gas engine area featured Sandwich engines made by Sandwich
Manufacturing Company in Sandwich, Illinois. Records show that 24
featured engines were displayed, and out of a total of 928 gas
engines shown at the 1991 Reunion. The gas engine area continues to
attract exhibitors with good quality, restored engines in excellent
running condition. The Power House and Wood Shop displays continue
to be excellent exhibits in the gas engine area, providing the
visitors with a first hand example of how gas engines were used as
power sources both on the farm and in small businesses.

Volunteers of the Midwest Electric Railway did an excellent job
shuttling Reunion visitors in and out of the campgrounds. Ridership
for the trolley operation was well above previous years despite the
fact that one of the trolley cars was out of service for an entire
day. The trolley cars provide the major conveyance for visitors to
reach the Log Village. The Log Village is populated by the members
of Explorer Post 1846 and its adult advisors. The Post members
provide a living history experience for Reunion visitors as they
portray historic Iowa of the 1840’s.

Post members give Reunion goers the opportunity to experience
the clothing, food, crafts, mannerisms, and entertainment of a
bygone time.

Crafts areas coordinated by Gladys and Clark Burns and Harrison
Moore provided visitors with an excellent opportunity to watch
skilled craftspeople demonstrate their expertise. Visitors could
also purchase these fine crafts as well as many high quality
antiques available for sale in the Antique Building.

Most of the more than twenty church and civic organizations
serving food at the Old Threshers event reported record sales. For
most Reunion visitors, no visit would be complete without a stop at
their favorite food stand. The church and civic organizations earn
a significant amount of money from these food operations.

Another aspect of the Old Threshers Reunion that doesn’t go
unnoticed is the free entertainment found around the main grounds.
All of the free acts are booked by a volunteer committee
coordinated by Roberta Callaway, including the Wednesday Bluegrass
Festival.

‘Yes, the 1991 Reunion was one of the smoothest that I can
remember,’ repeated Lennis Moore. ‘The entire Reunion was
well run by the Association’s Board of Directors, staff and
volunteers. People dedicated to making the Old Threshers Reunion
the best event possible. People doing what they do because they
enjoy it, and allowing that enjoyment to transfer to the Reunion
visitors,’ Moore concluded. ‘Our volunteers truly make this
event a Reunion in every sense of the word; a place people can
always come home to!’

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