Archive for Wednesday, August 8, 2007

McLouth Threshing Bee a hit again

August 8, 2007

— It was tractor madness Saturday in McLouth as thousands descended upon the Jefferson County community for its 50th annual Threshing Bee.

A steam-threshing demonstration, which gave onlookers a glimpse of how farmers used to separate the wheat from the chaff, is the foundation of the three-day exhibition.

Gerry Stoltenberg, of Topeka, said his grandfather was on a threshing crew.

"I came up with him about 30 years ago, to see what it's all about," Stoltenberg said. "We wanted to come back and take another look."

In another demonstration, an old tractor was used to operate a saw mill.

The exhibition has grown into more than just demonstrations through the years.

Several rows of old and new tractors lined the Threshing Bee grounds, some for sale, some for display, some for getting around and some for competition.

People flocked to the garden tractor pull, in which tractor drivers took turns pulling a heavy sled along a track, which became progressively resistant. Whoever makes it farthest wins.

"A lot of people ... like to come and see the old tractors, the threshing," said Randy Wilson, a 30-year McLouth resident. "They come from all over, different states, to this place."

Anna and Robert Garner, of Harveyville, were celebrating their one-year wedding anniversary, after being married at last year's Threshing Bee.

Anna Garner hopped out of a tent, which the couple turns into their living quarters during the event, packed a cooler with beer and headed to watch her husband compete in the tractor pull.

"It's just family fun," Anna Garner said. "Getting away, having a good time, talking to people, making new friends."

Organizers were hoping to top the between 2,500 and 3,000 people who attended the event in the past few years, said Lu Ann Petty, treasurer of the bee.

"It's looking pretty good," she said. "This is a very good crowd."

The festival concluded Sunday.

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