Long-Standing Dedication

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Inside the Threshermen Show

Sometimes, you get the best work from volunteers.

That is certainly the case with the Albert City Threshermen and Collectors Show Aug. 12-14. I don't think people can begin to realize just how much work it is to keep this show going and the long-standing dedication of the people who make it happen.

When Karl Lind and Keith Sundblad came up with the idea for a little threshing bee in 1971, they had no idea how big it would grow. This year, attendance could go well over 13,000, particularly due to the popularity of John Deere which will be featured this year. The focus will be on 30 years of production of the John Deere D from 1923-1953.

I think one thing that people need to realize is that it doesn't matter if you come from a farming background or not. You could have grown up in Manhattan and you'll still find the show a great time. The Threshermen are very patient and friendly and more than willing to explain the mechanics and processes behind farming as it has been done over the years.

The permanent collection at the Threshermen's grounds is nothing short of remarkable. On top of that, hundreds of exhibitors have spent tens of thousands of dollars each just for the chance to show off their pride and joy.

If you attend once, you'll keep going back. After 35 years, the Albert City Threshermen and Collectors Show has established itself as a mainstay of tourism in Buena Vista County. It's here to stay, thanks to the dedication of people who have carried on from one generation to the next the task of helping to preserve a working history of the past for future generations.

It really gives a person a great appreciation of what people really had to go through to build this country. There really aren't a whole lot of places where you can see living history like this in action, and the Albert City Threshermen and Collectors Show is one of the best that's out there.

I think by seeing the exhibits, we really gain an appreciation of how farming became established in Iowa and the Midwest. Now, as then, farming is the mainstay of the state's economy-in one way or another. Whether it's in agriculture itself, ag processing, farm equipment manufacture, or ag research, it all started on a patch of land over a hundred years ago with a team of horses and a breaking plow.

When you attend this year's show, be sure to thank the Threshermen whom you can recognize by their distinctive handkerchiefs. Also thank the exhibitors who engage in their extraordinarily expensive hobbies just for the satisfaction of seeing some kid's wide-open eyes.

I think another important thing to remember is that the living history embodied by the Threshermen Show is a gift in itself from those who saw fit to preserve the past for future generations. And we all benefit from that.

* Mike Tidemann is the assistant editor of the Storm Lake Pilot-Tribune. He can be reached at mtidemann@stormlake pilottribune.com