BY CARISSA SITKI
The Mill Road Thresherman Association held their annual meeting banquet at the Carriage House Event Center in Altamont on Sunday, Feb. 21, where plans for their upcoming 40th show were among the items discussed.
Dinner was served and a presentation was given to the association members in attendance, which included the plans for the Mill Road Thresherman Show which is set to take place from Aug. 12 through Aug. 15 of this year at the Effingham County Fairgrounds. Additionally, Altamont Historian, Devin Walk gave a historical agriculture presentation to the attendees.
President of the Mill Road Thresherman Association, Jim Schroeder began the meeting by acknowledging all of the handwork the members put in on the show. He said, “There is no way we could have made this happen without everyone’s support.”
President Schroeder recognized the oldest member of the group, Lawrence Berkel at 98-years-old and the youngest member, Lincoln Neu at 10-days-old, son of Russell and Jennifer Neu.
Recapping some 2020 group activities, was director, Randy Milleville, who noted the success of the past years’ Aug. 22 tractor drive that had more than 40 participants and the antique fire truck display at the carriage house. Milleville said the event could have had a better turnout if it had more promotion. He also mentioned the parade the group hosted for Lutheran Care Center residents. “This was something that brought smiles to so many of the residents faces,” said Milleville. He also went over some of the upcoming events for 2021, such as; a tractor drive that is planned for June 19, a show at Culver’s in Effingham sometime this summer, and a Halloween “Tractor Treat” for kids.
Director Dean Goekner, highlighted the itinerary of the 2021 show and said, “When we say there is something for everybody, we mean there is something for everybody.”
“It’s the friendships and the memories that are made right here at our shows,” said Membership Chairwoman, Kathy Schroeder, who spoke of the importance of the Show to the community. She also said that the association is seeking new members and is launching a membership drive contest to see who can introduce the most new members to the association.
President Schroeder highlighted a future goal that is in the works, that would give 14 and 15 year-olds the option to participate in some of the show’s tractor events on the grounds (not the roads). According to Schroeder, this would require insurance, parental consent, and a potential safety course.
Devin Walk of Altamont was the guest speaker and he gave a presentation on the history of agriculture in Altamont. Walk began his presentation, mentioning the earliest known occupants of the area, the Kickapoo Native American Tribe and the first pioneer to settle here, Griffin Tipsword. According to Walk, Tipsword prevented the local tribes from murdering new settlers to the area who came from the southern states.
Throughout the presentation, he shared photos and detailed the evolution of farming in Altamont’s history. Beginning with sustenance farming and tall prairie grass up to recent times. He highlighted things like the arrival of new tools in the 1800s and soybeans to the area in 1920. “The steel plow came to Effingham County [in the mid 1800s] and that was a big game-changer,” Walk said, “The farmers could produce a lot more crops and have larger farms.”
Additionally Walk mentioned one of the first settlements established in the area called Mounteville. Of Mountville, Walk said, “It was known for its tavern and horse and cattle thieves.”
Later on, according to Walk’s research, the railroads began to come through the area, making Altamont a bustling agricultural center. He said that in 1883, there was more grain shipped out of Altamont than any other town in the area.
Walk concluded his presentation by saying, “As you all know, farming in Altamont and throughout the country has changed a lot. Since the 1800s, we’ve gone from hand held tools to tractors. From horses to pickup trucks and its gone from mechanical operations to digital and computerized.”
Also during the meeting, President Schroeder noted that Al Shumaker would be taking over as the association’s treasurer in place of Brandon Laue. He also announced the addition of two new directors for 2021, Kyle Feldkamp and Kevin Perkins.
The 2021 directors are Jason Habing, Kim Shupe, Randy Milleville, Kyle Feldkamp, Russell Neu, Dean Goeckner, Kevin Perkins, and Ken Milleville. The Association’s officers consist of Jim Schroeder, President; Dale Laue, Vice President; Brandon Laue, outgoing Treasurer; Al Shumaker, incoming Treasurer; and secretary, Tom Denton.
The 2021 Mill Road Thresherman Show events throughout the weekend are as follows:
On Thursday, Aug. 12, there will be a 6 p.m. truck and tractor pull.
On Friday, Aug. 13, there will be a Flag Raising and Consignment Auction at 9 a.m.; Farm Toy Show, Craft Show and Flea Market, and Parts Vendor from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Field Demonstrations from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Potato Digging at 1 p.m.; Threshing & Baling, followed by Corn Shredding, beginning at 2 p.m.; Tractor Games at 6 p.m.; and capping off the day is a Garden Tractor Pull at 7 p.m.
On Saturday, Aug. 14, there will be a Kids’ Tractor Drive and Field Demonstrations from 8 a.m. to noon; Farm Toy Show, Craft Show & Flea Market, and Parts Vendors at 9 a.m.; Horse Farming from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.; Petting Zoo hosted by Altamont FFA from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Threshing & Baling, followed by Corn Shredding, beginning at 10 a.m.; Power Parade at 12 p.m.; Bluegrass Music from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Potato Digging at 1 p.m.; Kid’s Pedal Tractor Pull at 2 p.m.; Threshing & Baling at 3 p.m.; Potato Digging 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.; and Draft Horse Pull at 7 p.m.
On Sunday, there will be an 8 a.m. Worship Service; Farm Toy Show, Craft Show & Flea Market, Parts & Vendors from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; a car show from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and an Antique Tractor Pull at 12 p.m.