The Woodward News

September 24, 2013

Farming's heritage featured

Rowynn Ricks
Woodward News

Woodward, Okla. — FAIRVIEW – The Major County Historical Society likes to remind people that food doesn't come from the supermarket, but from farms.

That's why every fall the historical society hosts its annual Threshing Bee and Tractor Show. The event explores the rich heritage of farming and the important role that tractors have played in that farming process for the past hundred years.

“A lot of people today have no idea where food actually comes from. This is just a way to remind them of how things were done 100 years ago,” said Nate Donley, board member of the Major County Historical Society.

The 28th Annual Threshing Bee will be held Sept. 27th and 28th at the historical society site, located 1.5 miles east of Fairview on Highway 58. There will be signs placed along major roads to help direct traffic to the site, Donley said.

The 2-day event will feature a number of demonstrations.

“We'll have threshing going on, plowing going on and hopefully corn shelling going on as well,” Donley said.

There will also be a blacksmith demonstration and “we'll have flour and corn meal grinding here on the grounds,” he said.

“It's all to let people today see how people had to work in past years to do the things they had to do to get food and take care of themselves,” Donley said. “Back then this was people's way of making a living.”

In addition to the antique tractors, “some of which go back to the 1920s,” that will be used in the threshing and plowing demonstrations, Donley said there will be “around 300 tractors out here” just on display for the tractor show.

“This year we're featuring the John Deere D, which is a model of tractor that they've been building for 90 years,” he said. “We're hoping to have one for about every year of that on display.”

These tractors serve as a history of farming and go to show how much agriculture has developed over the years. They also serve as a tribute to all those who previously toiled to till the land and bring forth food for their families and others, Donley said.

“People today have no idea what it was like to work on those little tractors back then,” he said. “They had no air conditioning, no power steering, and the brakes were not good. A lot of things have changed over the years.”

He said people will have the opportunity to learn about those changes as “they can get right up close” to the machinery and “have people explain things about their tractors to them.”

Those who want to can even put their tractors to the test as part of a tractor pull, which is set to begin around 2:30 p.m. on Sept. 28.

“They will compete in different classes. We have an antique class for tractors built prior to 1955 and for anything later than that they're considered classic tractors,” Donley said. “They'll start with 2,500 pounds up to 5,500 pounds on the sled and they'll compete to see how far each tractor can pull the sled.”

Another exciting highlight of the Threshing Bee will be the anvil shooting demonstrations.

“We'll have an anvil shoot both days, where we'll place black powder under an anvil and set it off so that the anvil goes off in the air,” Donley said, noting “it can get up about 200 feet in the air sometimes.”

People will also be able to check out a number of antique and classic cars that will also be on display, he said.

“And while they're here they can take a look around our nice museum,” Donley said.

Outside of the Threshing Bee activities, which he said will be held from around 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 27th and 28th, the Major County Historical Society's Museum is usually open Tuesdays through Fridays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For more information about the museum or the Threshing Bee, contact the Major County Historical Society at (580) 227-2265.