10750 S. Vroman Road, Shepherd, Michigan 48883-9352
The 13th Annual Blanchard Millpond Steam and Gas Show is now a memory, but what a delightful one it is.
Mother Nature was very good to our show this year, a little rainy mist on Friday, but Saturday and Sunday were sunny and warm.
We had a large turnout of exhibitors. One hundred ninety tractors, 224 gas engines, 49 garden tractors and cultivators, and 17 models, along with tool displays, chain and drag saws, and boat motors, were on display. There were 177 registered exhibitors.
Vern Lang, Kent City, Michigan, had his very nice display of 15 hog oilers which were all mounted on a trailer.
Our featured tractor for 1998 was J. I. Case, and Roger Brookens of Shepherd, Michigan, took time out from his very busy farming schedule to bring his nice collection of J. I. Case tractors.
The featured gas engine was Field-Brundage and Foos. Tom Logan, Williamston, Michigan, had his 1? Foos, the only Foos at the show. There were no Field-Brundage engines there.
The Friday night horse pull had a good turnout of pullers; fifteen showed up from a wide area of Michigan. Also on Friday night there was a gospel sing put on by Julie Smith and her group at our 'brown' barn which is on the other side of the park. They also drew a nice-sized crowd.
There were three steam traction engines owned and operated by George Moss of Mt. Pleasant, George Flaugher of Weidman, and Terry Schutt of Mt. Pleasant, all in Michigan. The spectators always enjoy seeing and talking with these men about their big 'toys.'
The antique tractor pulls both Saturday and Sunday had a very good turnout of pullers, and some traveled a long distance to the pull.
On Saturday the Powder Puff and 1940 and older pulls were held. The ladies sure like to get on that track and 'stretch that chain .' Sunday the 1952 and older pulled, and there was a large crowd of pullers.
The spark show on Friday and Saturday night, put on by the steam traction engines, is always a crowd pleaser. If you have never seen this, it looks like hundreds of sparklers rising in the air.
Don Merrihew of Mt. Pleasant, Glenn Higgins of Rosebush, and Ron Miller of Weidman supported our show again this year by putting on a great antique construction equipment demonstration on Saturday. These three men sure do enjoy digging in the dirt.
The Dale Hafer Band, of Coleman, Michigan, played country music on Saturday evening from 7:30 to 10:00 p.m. in the 'brown' barn. Bob Schafer, Owosso, Michigan, sat in and played with them also.
Terry Schutt received the oldest exhibit plaque for his 1908 Port Huron steam traction engine.
Jon Bontrager, Elkhart, Indiana, received the farthest-distance-traveled plaque. Jon was showing his old railroad engines.
This past summer, two gentlemen from the Blanchard area noticed (the Park Board had known this for some time) that our food booth was in need of some repair. So Jarot Karcher and Scott Parks took it upon themselves to build a new food wagon. They did a super job and received a lot of nice compliments from the crowd at our steam and gas show.
There are a lot of people who volunteer to help us put on this show. Due to the fact I may miss someone's name, I won't try to list everyone, only say 'thanks a million' for your help. You know who you are.
As with all shows everywhere, the more help there is, the smoother things run. Everyone should always keep in mind that we do this for enjoyment for ourselves, the exhibitors, and the spectators.
Our 1999 show dates are August 27, 28, 29, when we will be featuring Massey-Harris and Ferguson tractors and implements and Fuller & Johnson engines.
So, mark your show book and calendars for the last weekend in August, and visit with us at the Millpond, just east of Blanchard, Michigan. I know you will enjoy it.
Photos are by Arnold Spencer, Alma, Michigan.