Young and old gather to remember old times

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 20, 2000

LEROY – There was Justin Parsons, 17, steering the scale model Case steam engine around the field.

Sunday, August 20, 2000

LEROY – There was Justin Parsons, 17, steering the scale model Case steam engine around the field.

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Trailing him was his uncle, Dwight Boomgarden in a wheelchair.

They made quite a site Saturday afternoon at Harlan and Maggie Boe’s threshing show.

Not just for the obvious reasons, a man in a wheelchair chasing a steam engine, but for the teenager.

Steam engines, separators, corn shellers and antique tractors aren’t just for old-timers. They’re for everyone.

"This is the next generation and we have to pass along all this knowledge to them," said Boomgarden.

It’s easy to dismiss steam engines, antique tractors and farm machinery as "old boys’ toys."

After all, Harlan Boe, who hosts the most successful show of its kind, is 79-years-old.

When he and Freddie Siewert, confined to a motor scooter for transportation, start talking, it’s likely today’s generation would think they are speaking a foreign language.

Put the venerable Clarence "Pun" Krull and Jesse Ronne into the mix and watch each of the men try to top the other with friendly boasts, teasing and stories of another era long ago in farming.

Eavesdropping on the senior citizens could confuse the novice listener who is unfamiliar with yesterday’s style of farming.

What is a separator? What does a corn-sheller look like? What does ‘pitching bundles’ mean? Nichols-Shepard, McCormick-Deering? Who makes them?

Today’s farming families only have the stories told by their grandparents to have a glimpse into farming the old-fashioned way.

Some people worry, today’s farm youths are not acquiring the same mechanical skills their fathers and grandfathers once needed to work the farm.

So, the debut of the Boomgaarden’s scale model Case steam engine and the man behind the wheel was a refreshing turn of events at Saturday’s show.

The Boomgaardens live and work at Kenyon. Since 1974, the Case scale model steam engine has been huffing and puffing it’s way out of history and into modern ranks of appreciation.

Dwight’s father, George Boomgaarden and a brother, Jake (both now deceased) passed on their knowledge about steam engines to Dwight.

On Saturday, they will host their own steam engine and threshing show.

Two steam engines will be in action, there will also be plowing, threshing with two separators and more.

Justin Parsons is the son of Jim and Kathy Parsons, Ostrander. This fall, he will be a junior at Kingsland High School, Spring Valley.

"My wife, Mona, and I have three daughters, so I had to look for a nephew, Justin, to be taught what I learned," said Boomgaarden.

Both Dwight Boomgaarden and Justin’s father, Jim, are boiler engineers, who steam energy is second-nature to them.

"It’s a skill that not many of today’s youths are evening interested in," said Boomgaarden.

"I am. I want to learn all I can. I think this is neat stuff," said Justin