The sights and sounds from days gone by on Kansas farms will be on display Friday and Saturday, Aug. 21 and 22 in Haviland as they celebrate the Southwest Kansas Antique Engine and Thresher show. The event is free and open to the public.
For 51 years, the Thresher Show has celebrated the equipment and tools that farmers used to raise crops and help feed the country.
Chief among the displays every year is the lineup of old tractors dating from the 1960s back to the late 1920s, said Dan Woods, president of the show board.
Expected this year are 25 to 30 tractors, both gas and propane powered, that tilled the soil and were the predecessors to today’s tractors with high tech monitors, climate controlled cabs and comfortable padded seats.
The tractors on display at the show have none of these luxuries and farmers were exposed to heat and dust and wind as they worked the fields across Kansas.
Several of the displays at the thresher show the versatility of the old tractors. They are put to use operating sawmills, threshing grain, crushing rock, planing wood and testing the engines power.
Older tractors had a flywheel that ran a long, flat belt that ran various pieces of equipment. Each of these pieces of equipment is stationary so the materials like hay, wheat bales, wood and so on had to be brought to the site.
At the hay baling, the hay has to be hand fed into the machine that creates a small bale that has to be tied by hand. Wheat was put into bales and pitched into the grain thresher, Woods said.
“There was a lot of hard work, not much automated about it,” Woods said. “It’s a whole lot different than today’s world.”
The Baker Fan is designed to test the horsepower of the tractor. A belt runs from the tractor to the stationary fan. The faster the engine runs, the more resistance it gets from the fan and the harder it pulls on the engine. The test simulates the load tractors had when they pulled equipment across the field.
Besides the tractors, other items on display include a variety of gasoline engines, garden tractors, antique vehicles and, for bargain hunter, vendors will have a flea market area to sell their special treasurers.
The Thresher Show has activities specifically for children including an all day search for coins in a tank of corn, an egg toss, tug-o-war and a pedal pull sanctioned by the Kiowa County Farm Bureau.
Children have a lot of fun at the coin search because the can take the money and get refreshments at the concessions stand, Woods said.
On Friday, tractor displays and activities go on all day including the all day children coin search. There is an auction at 3 p.m. followed by a free bean feed at 5:30 p.m.
On Saturday, the tractor displays and activities continue with a Main Street Parade at 10 a.m. and tractor games at 4 p.m.
A concessions stand will be on hand both days but will not be open during the bean feed Friday evening.
The Thresher Show is in Haviland at 502 E. Walnut on the east side of town. Camper hookups are available. For more information contact Woods at 620-770-0498 or Andy Kimble at 620-408-5600.
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