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Whistles signify start to Threshermen's Reunion

Steam engines are parked during Thursday's opening ceremony of the Threshermen's Reunion.

PONTIAC – At the sound of the steam engine whistles Thursday morning, the 2022 Threshermen’s Reunion officially got underway north of Pontiac.

The 74th annual reunion, which is one of the oldest of its kind in the country, features Graham Bradley and International Harvester tractors.

“Without our board and volunteers that put this show together, we couldn’t get it done,” said Threshermen’s president Dave Herz during Thursday’s opening ceremony.

After recognizing current officers and the board of directors, Herz remembered retiring board members and highlighted recent improvements to the grounds. This year, a pipeline company which works with Enbridge left a green and white hoop building to the reunion. The roads were improved at Threshermen’s Park last year.

“Congratulations on another great year,” said Pontiac Mayor Bill Alvey during opening day. “We look forward to a great, great reunion with a great turnout.”

Alvey reminded everyone to attend Sunday’s big Threshermen’s Parade through downtown Pontiac at 1:15 p.m. Pontiac Tourism Director Liz Vincent showed appreciation to the volunteers who help make the event happen each year.

Gene Burnett of the Pontiac downtown organization PROUD shared memories of the International Harvester as he referred to a former neighbor as an “International man.” He reminded the crowd International was manufactured in Illinois, noting it is one of the oldest tractor corporations.

“Let us not forget the generation of American farmers that made all of this possible,” Burnett added.

State Rep. Tom Bennett believes the Threshermen’s Reunion is a great way to remember what agriculture has done as we celebrate traditions and honor parents and grandparents.

“Just try to imagine what our kids and grandkids will have at their fingertips on the same farms in the years ahead,” noted Bennett.

Pastor Dan Woodward led a moment of silence to remember former board members and presented the morning’s invocation.

“Give safety to every corner of this property,” said Woodward. “Lord, may it be a time for us to reacquaint our friendships.”

Herz reminded everyone that threshing machines will run all weekend and they will try to do some corn shelling. Other highlights include the saw mill and rock crushing.

“There’s stuff going on all day long. I ask that you go out and just enjoy yourself.”

The Central States Threshermen’s Reunion runs through Monday at Threshermen’s Park north of Pontiac along Illinois Route 23.

The Thursday morning opening ceremony for the Threshermen's Reunion at Pontiac.


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