Farming nostalgia

Annual Steam Threshing and Plowing Show now in progress

T-R PHOTO BY SARA JORDAN-HEINTZ The 34th annual Steam Threshing and Plowing Show, 2373 Jessup Ave., is now in progress. The show highlights farming techniques of the early 1900s. It is sponsored by the Mid-Iowa Antique Power Association (MIAPA). Pictured is the saw mill demonstration.

The 34th annual Steam Threshing and Plowing Show demonstrates the time and labor that went into harvesting crops over 100 years ago. Sponsored by the Mid-Iowa Antique Power Association (MIAPA), the three-day long celebration, located at 2373 Jessup Ave, pools a variety of folks from all over the area.

Vernon Waterman of Melbourne has participated in the show the last 15 years. He’s showcasing two full-size steam engines and an International tractor. His 1904 Russell steam engine is being used to power the saw mill demonstrations.

“It’s how things were done in the past — the early days,” he said. “It shows the younger generation how they used to do it.”

With a speed of only 13 horsepower, Waterman said, using that steam engine day-to-day would have been tedious work.

His 1909 Case steam engine offers more versatility.

“It’s 20 horsepower on the drawbar and 60 on the belt,” he said. “I’ve had that one for 10 years or over. It was all torn down when I bought it. It came from Wyoming. It was torn apart for 35 years. We had to make a lot of parts to put it together. You can’t go to Walmart to get these. It took about three months.”

Waterman said the Case possesses a plowing engine, whereas the Russell was used for more stationary work.

“It’s the way the axles are knotted on the boiler, depending whether it’s a plowing engine or a saw mill,” he said.

Bill Roads of Haverhill, who serves on the MIAPA board, said he and his wife Judy will be this year’s king and queen of the Parade of Power, which will take place today at 3 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. The couple will ride on their B Farmall tractor.

“The show has been going good. We’ve had a really good turnout,” Roads said. “We hope more people will come out, it’s nice warm weather.”

Following the Sunday parade, the winner of the raffle will be announced. This year’s prize is a WC Allis-Chalmers, which is also the featured tractor brand of the show. Tickets are $2 each or six for $10.

Folks can browse the flea market and sample food from various vendors. Sunday will feature music by the Brothers & Sisters in Christ, at 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., with a Sunday worship service slated for 9 a.m., led by Pastor Bud Kelley.

Admission is a one-time charge of $9 per person. Those 12 and under get in for free. Parking is free and handicap parking is available, as well as rides from the parking area to the show grounds. Campers are welcome. Plaques will be given to all exhibitors.

To see a full list of events, visit: and MIAPA’s Facebook page.


Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at 641-753-6611 or