COLE CAMP — With the passage of time, things are sometimes lost and teaching young children about their heritage can be difficult because for many things, it is virtually impossible to recreate.
The members of the Cole Camp Antique Tractor Association are working hard to ensure that does not happen for area schoolchildren from Pettis, Benton and Morgan counties.
The association was host to 425 students Thursday and Friday, providing farming demonstrations and activities to help the students understand what life was like while living in the country.
“We have come to this event for several years,” Smithton fourth grade teacher Stacey Bahner said. “It’s such an excellent opportunity for them to see firsthand what people who lived on a farm actually did.
“When we got back to school last year after coming here, the students immediately started to talk and write about their experiences,” she added. “The demonstrations are tied to the Show-Me Standards for history and so it is an event the school encourages us to attend.”
Anne Goosen, a fourth grade teacher from Lincoln, has also been bringing students to the event each fall.
“Most of my students haven’t experienced anything like this,” Goosen said. “They are excited to come because the older students talk about their experiences and what they learned here.”
Throughout the morning, students saw demonstrations on blacksmithing, wheat thrashing, lye soap making, hay bailing and apple butter and butter making.
There were 14 different stations where men and women demonstrated their skills for the students.
“I’ve been coming here for quite a while,” Dale Oelrichs, of Mora said after helping with a thrashing demonstration. “I think we all try to show them how it used to be done because for so many of them they have never seen things like this before; we don’t want them to lose their heritage.”
Oelrichs used a pitchfork to load wheat into a 1938 Belle City thrasher machine, while James Goss used his 1941 M Farmall tractor to power the thrasher.
Thrashing is done to separate the wheat from the stalk. The straw is a byproduct that is used for animal bedding.
After thrashing the wheat, the students were shown how farmers used to bail hay and straw into small rectangular bales that were hand-tied.
Darren Beckmann and Joe Brockman, both of Stover, demonstrated the Case Stationary Baler from the 1940s for the students. Both men are members of the Cole Camp Tractor Association.
“I really enjoy showing the kids how things like this used to be done,” Beckmann said. “It’s important for them to remember their history; we don’t want things like this to be lost.”
Continuing to keep his trade’s heritage alive was the reason blacksmith Don Nichols was a presenter.
“I’m a toolmaker by trade,” Nichols said. “This is working with steel just in a different way.
“I saw some people working as blacksmiths and so I decided to try my hand at it,” Nicholas added. “I joined BAM (Blacksmith Association of Missouri) to learn more and now it’s been my hobby for 18 years or so.”
The event is now in its 24th year and, according to organizers, continues to grow each year.
“We always seem to get bigger and bigger each year,” Linda Richardson, secretary of the association, said. “Saturday we will have even more events for not only the kids, but adults too.
Those events include the demonstrations and kids games including a kid’s pedal tractor pull that begins at 4 p.m.
The antique and classic farm tractor pull weigh-in will start at 3 p.m. and the pull starts at 5 p.m.
Visitors will be given the opportunity to purchase raffle tickets for a chance to win a 1948 Farmall Cub tractor. Tickets are a donation of $1 for one or $5 for six. The drawing will be Oct. 10 during Octoberfest.
Admission to the Cole Camp Antique Tractor Association Fall Show is $5.
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484