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Reunion brings history to life

A machine at last year's Threshermen's Reunion near Pontiac.

PONTIAC - If you notice older farmers standing near the wheat threshing areas at the upcoming Threshermen’s Reunion, you will likely hear stories of the past and how things used to be done on the farm.

“It’s really neat to hear some of those old guys talk about what it was like to farm before you sat in an air-conditioned cab and pushed a button at the end of a row,” said Dave Herz, president of the five-day reunion which is held Labor Day weekend.

Visitors to Threshermen’s Park north of Pontiac can expect the same traditions of steam engines, threshing machines, plowing and saw mill demonstrations to continue. This year’s featured tractor brands include Oliver and Massey-Harris.

“We’ll try to do some threshing in the morning and again in the afternoon on Thursday,” Herz said. “That schedule pretty much follows through the weekend.”

Ken Stoltz was raised on Oliver tractors and is glad to be helping with the display this year.

“I’ve got my dad’s Oliver 77 that I put quite a few hours on myself when I was younger,” Stoltz said. “If you’re raised on something, you are stuck with it I guess.”

Stoltz also has his father’s 1963 Oliver 1600 which is a machine he started operating in his junior high and high school days. He has around 20 Oliver tractors in his collection and enjoys working on them.

Massey-Harris collector Wes Armstrong of El Paso will have some of his tractors at the reunion. His collection of farm equipment includes tractors, implements, combines and plows. Armstrong has collected equipment since he was a kid and took a liking to the Massey-Harris brand.

“We’ve got a little bit of everything but mostly Massey-Harris stuff,” Armstrong explained.

The 71st annual Treshermen’s Reunion runs Thursday, Aug. 29 through Monday, Sept. 2. Daily attractions include the 1900 country school house, general store, singer saw mill, 1920 Conoco gas station, corn shelling, soap making and train rides. The craft show and flea market tends to draw numerous individuals to the grounds – along with tractor pulls on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings.

Pontiac’s Jolly Trolley will provide free rides Friday and Saturday from 11-2 to the downtown area, giving visitors the chance to enjoy the museums, shopping and dining in town. Also, golf carts can be rented by the hour or day. There is a $10 registration fee for personal transportation. Daily gate fee is $8 with those 13 and under admitted for free.

More information can be found at or by looking for “Central States Threshermen’s Reunion” on Facebook.

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