Emotional opening to Threshermen's
PONTIAC – Thursday’s opening ceremony for the Central States Threshermen’s Reunion was filled with emotions and gratitude.
Event president Dave Herz reminded those attending the opening day festivities that it has been two years since everyone was together.
“There are people here I have not seen for two years and it’s great to renew those friendships and just get back together again,” said Herz.
Plenty of improvements have been made at Threshermen’s Park including drainage, new grindings donated at no cost and access to Pontiac water. Herz recognized the men and women on the board who donate their time to put a show on.
“Without their help, we couldn’t do this.”
Pontiac Mayor Bill Alvey said he appreciates the “fine” people involved with the reunion and hopes for good weather for the entire five-day event. He also reminded everyone of Sunday’s parade through Pontiac which should be a great success with over 140 entrants.
“We look forward to this reunion continuing,” Alvey noted.
PROUD acting president Gene Burnett pointed to the importance of ag history and his family’s love affair with Oliver tractors. His father had a Minneapolis Moline prior to the Oliver brand. There are plenty of Minneapolis Molines on display at this weekend’s reunion as it is a featured brand.
Burnett hopes visitors also spend the weekend shopping and dining in downtown Pontiac.
“Pontiac has a vibrant downtown centered on the historic courthouse square,” he stated.
Patrick Doggett from U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger’s office feels a sense of community and hard work at the Threshermen’s Reunion. He recognized the volunteers that make it all possible and said it was great to be back again.
State Rep. Tom Bennett believes it has been too long since everyone was together. He looks forward to future generations eventually feeding the world as past generations have.
“We are very proud of our agricultural heritage here in Central Illinois,” Bennett observed.
In a more emotional part of the ceremony, Herz remembered board member Bill Carroll who recently passed away. Because of Carroll, the hoop buildings are on the grounds and plenty of improvements were made over the years. Carroll’s daughters thanked everyone for giving their father the chance to help out at the park. They presented $1,000 in memorial donations to the Threshermen’s Reunion. Herz also honored Larry Hassinger who passed away several weeks ago. Hassinger was a retired board member who still helped out.
A moment of silence was also held for all of those former volunteers no longer here.
“Unfortunately, in the last few years, we have lost way too many members,” Herz said.
The Central States Threshermen’s Reunion runs through Monday just north of Pontiac along Route 23.