Annual threshing show draws nostalgic crowd

Farm Forum

ANDOVER — Near-perfect weather on Sept. 6 helped attract a large crowd at the annual James Valley Threshing Show at Threshermen’s Park.

With plenty of vintage steam- and gasoline-powered engines and classic tractors on display, attendees of the 40th annual show had more than enough to look at when not taking advantage of the many food and snack options.

Sitting next to his 1930s era gasoline engine that once served as a water pump in the Wyoming oil fields many decades ago, Vernon Ellingson of Wood Lake, Minn., said that he’s been coming to Andover since 1981 for the threshing show.

“I usually go to six or eight shows per year,” he said. “This is a 7.5 horsepower engine, which is what most people who ask about it want to know. People also like to know what it was used for and when it was used.”

Originally hailing from a farm family in the Claremont area, Vickie Windham came to the show from Belle Fourche to enjoy the scenery and the old equipment.

“When I walk around, I almost can’t believe it,” Windham said. “It’s so cool that people have the skills and knowledge to operate these old machines. We had tractors on the farm growing up and some of this takes me back.”

While working to fire up one of his father Kevin Anderson’s many vintage steam tractors on display at the show, Scott Anderson of Andover said starting one of the approximately 100-year-old Case tractors is a little more complicated than turning a key.

“It takes a while to get going,” he said. “We’ll burn wood to boil water first and it will take an hour or longer to steam up after that. Total, it’s around two hours before you can get it running. Way back when, though, you could get a lot more work done in the field with one of these than with a horse.”

With the parking area nearly full to the west of Threshermen’s Park, Anderson said he thought attendance on Sept. 6 was “a little better than average.”

Running from Sept. 5-7, the show’s festivities on Saturday included numerous demonstrations, displays and an early-afternoon parade through the park.

Isaac Hoeft, 9, of Stratford said he enjoyed all the old steam engines, but that his favorite tractor was his grandfather’s 1952 Model B John Deere, which he got to drive.

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