June 12, 2024

Mill Road Thresherman Show slated Aug. 10-13

Placement requested near ad on Indiana A4 and Illinois A5

ALTAMONT, Ill. — Explore a century of farming at the 42nd annual Mill Road Thresherman Show, a working tractor show scheduled Aug. 10-13 at the Effingham County Fairgrounds in Altamont.

This year, John Deere implements are being featured, marking the monumental 100th anniversary of the John Deere D tractor. However, all models are welcome.

The show’s organizers have already received calls from other states saying they are bringing their John Deere implements — particularly the Model 110, John Deere’s first lawn and garden tractor, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year after breaking into the market in 1963.

The Mill Road Thresherman Association is a group of men and women whose goal is to preserve and demonstrate farming as their grandfathers and great-grandfathers knew it.

They strive to preserve not only the equipment, but also the techniques those old farmers utilized to plant, harvest and process their crops.

The Mill Road Thresherman Show, co-hosted by the Southern Illinois Green Iron Club, is a place where families can come to enjoy the sights and sounds of farming’s past — not only the thumps and grinds of old equipment, but also the clank of a horse harness, the whish of a spinning wheel, or the sounds of bluegrass filtering over the grounds.

Admission is $8 for a single day or $16 for a weekend pass. Purchase tickets, see the daily schedule and get more details at millroadthresherman.org.

A Brief History

The first Thresherman’s Demonstration was held on July 24, 1982. It was started by neighbors Louis Milleville and Wayne Mueller, who thought it would be fun to thresh wheat and oats with a 1930s-era 2238 McCormick Deering threshing machine owned by Milleville.

The first event took place on what is known as “Mill Road,” which is just south of the I-70 interchange in Altamont.

A group of friends and neighbors gathered together with their antique tractors, implements, hit-and-miss engines, and cars. The day was a big success with over 400 people registered in attendance.

It was decided to move the next show to the Effingham County Fairgrounds, where every show since has been held.

The group also wanted to find a steam engine to use to power the threshing machine. The Blomberg family of Farina owned the nearest operating steam engine and agreed to let the group use it, provided they could find a capable operator.

A local man, Ben Winter, had extensive knowledge and experience in operating steam engines. Winter agreed to run the steamer and an even bigger show was held in 1983.

In order to help organize and operate the next show, the group incorporated as the Mill Road Thresherman Association Inc. on May 1, 1984.

After that year’s show, a charter and bylaws were approved and signed by the three original directors on Oct. 5, 1984. They were Marlin Milleville of Altamont, Ed Jansen of Sigel and Eldo Tate of Stewardson.

Officers elected were President Louis Milleville, Vice President Ben Winter, Secretary Roy Cochran and Treasurer Art Trost.