By: Joshua Danker-Dake | Category: Recreation/Leisure | Issue: May 2010
OSTGEA members Carl Tuttle (in cab), Rick Hasbrook (on tire), Greg Tuttle and Jeff Detwiler (front).
On May 7-9, celebrate Oklahoma’s agricultural past and experience a key chapter in the state’s farming history as the Oklahoma Steam Threshing and Gas Engine Association (OSTGEA) puts on its annual show in Pawnee.
Spread over 40 acres, the OSTGEA show will feature steam threshers, gas tractors, gas engines, a steam-powered sawmill, a shingle mill, an antique line shaft machine shop, and a blacksmith shop. The OSTGEA show will feature a new display this year where you can learn how corn is processed and ground from stalks to meal.
“You’ll step back in time 80 years at this show,” says Robert Marrs, president of OSTGEA. “This equipment we’ll have on display was used from the late 1800s to the mid-1920s, during the transition between horse-drawn equipment and equipment with internal combustion engines.”
Many of these vintage engines have been on display at a number of Green Country events in years past, including the Tulsa State Fair, Oklahoma’s Centennial at the State Capital, Drumright’s Heritage Days, Shamrock’s Saint Patrick’s Celebration, Catoosa’s Route 66 Flywheelers, and several Christmas parades.
OSTGEA member Brenda Bays.
There’s plenty more than antique machinery at the show. A women’s exhibit will feature quilting, weaving, spinning and other period practices. There will also be food vendors, a flea market and an arts and crafts show, as well as a kiddy tractor pull.
One of OSTGEA’s goals is the education and preservation of rural farming practices in the Plains states. “It’s a very educational show,” says Marrs. “And it’s a good opportunity to learn about the struggles that Oklahoma farmers faced during that time period.”
OSTGEA has nearly 400 members across the state and around the country. “We’re a bunch of people who enjoy the hobby,” says Marrs. “It’s been a volunteer-run show since it began in 1964. I got involved about 15 years ago – now I own and display the sawmill, and I’ve served as president for the last three years.” The event draws people from all over the country as well as from Canada, and is attended by five to six thousand people annually.
The J. I. Case Heritage Foundation has also made this year’s OSTGEA show their Case Expo 2010. Jerome Increase Case, a pioneer of agricultural steam engine technology, created the J. I. Case Company in 1842. The company built its first steam engine in 1869, its first steam traction engine in 1876, and its first farm tractor in 1892. Now, the Case Heritage Foundation sponsors antique farm machinery shows around the nation.
The Oklahoma Steam and Gas Engine Show is Friday, May 7 through Sunday, May 9 at Steam Park Grounds in Pawnee. The show is open each day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $7 for adults or $10 for a three-day pass, and kids 12 and under get in free. On Friday only, any teacher-led school class gets in free, and senior citizens get in for $3. For more information, including directions to the show, visit www.oklahomathreshers.org.