2023 Holmes County Steam Engine Association Show
Thurs., August 3rd
Fri., August 4th
Sat., August 5th
Events & Information
Overview & Schedule
The steam traction engine was the predecessor of the gas tractor. It was used for belt and drawbar work. The steam engine used fire to heat the water in the boiler to make steam. It then used the expansive force of steam in a cylinder to create power.
The steam engines at the show will be kept busy powering a sawmill, threshing machines, power-eater, Baker fans, steam engine games, and spark shows at night.
Inviting All Brands & Makes of Tractors & Machinery
Baker fans, steam engines, threshing, chain saw art, rope making, lots of antique tractors and more.
2023 Tractor Pull Classes & Rules
Download tractor pull class information and other rules.
Horse Pull... Featuring the Highest Purse in Ohio!
Just like clockwork on every Thursday evening at 6:00 the call for all teams to be “in the ready” sounds out over the public address system. At this time each team, their driver and the hooker must be ready to answer the call to advance to the pulling sled and begin the task of pulling a loaded sled 27 ½ feet. This Thursday evening happens once a year at the Holmes County, Ohio, Steam and Engine Association’s Summer Show. The importance of this event is magnified by the location of the summer show. Holmes County, Ohio is the central location of our country’s largest Amish community. Horses and the power they provide are immensely important to the way of life for the Amish.
Draft horses are the impetus that turned farming into an agricultural industry. For centuries horses were used to plow the fields, work the ground, and pull loaded wagons. By the 1850’s, stationary engines and traction engines began appearing and replacing the long established horse power. The importance of horses is vital to the present day Amish economy.
It is anybody’s guess when horse pulling contests were started. But man with his competitive nature long ago probably boasted about the strength of the horses he owned. There are accounts from early America about barn doors being removed and placed on the ground. A team would be hooked to the door and as the horses moved it across an open area individuals would step aboard the door. The number of riders would increase until the weight would bring the team to a stop. The team that could pull the largest number of people the farthest was declared the winner.
Today’s horse pulling is much more complex than the basics of attaching a team to a sled and pulling the heaviest load. The competition for top quality teams is evidenced by auctions where a good pulling horse may be sold in the $15,000 to $20,000 price range. Exceptional pulling teams are sold for $40,000 to $70,000. Some attributes that go along with horse pulling competition are equipment, experience, timing, and the right horses. As in other sporting events, team work is essential.
The Percheron breed of horses dominated the earlier makeup of the draft horse teams. Some of our forefathers believed that the Percheron and Belgian mix made the best draft team. Today’s draft teams are predominately Belgians.
Pulling competitions are usually divided into lightweight and heavyweight categories. The lightweight contest is for teams weighing less than 3,200 lbs. Any size horse may be included in the heavyweight division. Most contests do not require the heavyweights to be weighted. The 27 ½ foot pulling distance was approved by university research that determined that this was a safe distance for teams to pull a heavy load and remain injury free.
Those attending their first contest can expect to see a team, the driver, and the team hooker approach the pulling sled. As the team turns to face forward, the hooker quickly attaches the hook to the sled and the team is off in an attempt to move the sled 27 ½ feet. This effort requires about eight seconds of time. On an average, each team pulls about seven times for each contest, which amounts to fifty-six seconds of work. Each team has three chances to pull their load to a “full pull”. As more weight is added teams begin to be eliminated.
This is a sport of experience. For many owners and drivers, the skills are passed down to younger family members. Young family members may start out helping to care for the team at home and traveling to the pulling contests. He or she may become the team’s hooker and later have the experience of making that first pull as the driver, under the watchful eye of the veterans.
Horse pulling is not about speed and the thrilling roar of the crowd. It is about a hushed crowd watching the “gentle giants” that make up a pulling team, grunt as they strain in their chain and leather harness pulling a sled down a track. And then comes the crowd’s approval as the pull ends.
The Threshing machine is a machine that farms once used to thresh (separate) kernels of grain from stalks. Some are still used by the Amish farmers. The machine also winnowed (blew) the husks from the kernels. Threshing machines were developed in the mid 1800’. Before then, farmers had threshed and winnowed by hand, a difficult slow task. The first practical threshing machines enabled farmers to process grain about 30 times as fast as they could by hand. Early threshing machines were powered by horses walking on a thredmill, the threshing machine was stationary during operation. By the late 1800’s, threshers were powered by steam engines; by the early 1900’s, they were powered by tractors.
Wheat and oats would be cut by a grain binder, which would also tie the stalks into bundles and then was shocked into shocks to dry for about ten days. Then it would be ready to thresh. Farmers would form a threshing ring, which would consist of about twelve farmers. My dad, Mose Troyer, owned a 1935 Allis Chalmers 25 – 40 Model E tractor and a John Deere 24 – 48 threshing machine and ran a threshing ring in the 1940’s, 50’s, and 60’s. I recall filling up gas cans to take along threshing as a 30 gallon tank on the tractor would not last a whole day. They would thresh a twelve acre field in a half day, then move to the next job, and would thresh until dark. He would be paid by the bushel of grain, $.08 for oats and $.12 for wheat. I can remember one day we were threshing at our place the straw shed was getting full so Dad sent me and my brother, Eli, up in the shed to fill the back corners and tramp down the straw, so he could get a couple more loads in. He’d have to move the blower around and every now and then he would be blowing it right on us. Also, we had to fight bumble bees. That was probably the worst job I ever had. See Threshing done at the Holmes County Steam & Engine Show!
Arts & Crafts
The art/craft booth is for children of all ages. There are pictures to paint or color, crafts of tissue art, macaroni tractors to glue and paint, stencil art and lots of other crafts. It is designed so the children can be busy while adults are checking out the tractors and equipment. The helpers will paint the children’s faces with their favorite tractor.
At our show, we hang the children’s art up, and they can pick it up before they leave. We try to keep them busy, and we encourage them to do their own craft with blank paper, pencils, and paint.
Many children enjoy this time where they can be creative.
Small Gasoline Engines
SMALL ENGINES WILL BE DISPLAYED ON GRASS
Prior to gas combustion engines, steam engines were used to power machinery. Then in the mid 1800's to early 1900's, the need for a better way to transfer power brought forth a flood of ingenious devices. Thus enters the gasoline engine. Otto was probably the first practical gasoline engine. Gas engines were used to power many items such as sugar cane mills, grist mills, corn shellers, water pumps, drag saws, washing machines, butter churns, meat grinders, fruit presses, run line shafts, and then pumps and small power plants. Hundreds of companies produced gas engines with horse power ranging from 3/4 HP to the 600 HP Snow.
Come to the HOLMES COUNTY STEAM AND ENGINE SHOW in Mt. Hope, Ohio on August 3, 4, & 5, 2023 to view some of these engines and implements in operation. They will be shelling corn, baling hay, thrashing wheat and sawing slabs. The featured engine this year is Fairbanks Morse with many other models on display.
You will also see steam engines at work powering threshing machines, sawmills, etc. We have a nice show every year…come visit us.
We are pleased to feature the following tractors at current and upcoming shows: