Threshing at Heatwole

One of the draws of the Heatwole Threshing Show is the opportunity to watch field demonstrations. In this picture, grain was threshed by a crew of Heatwole volunteer members.

If you didn’t get enough old farm machinery during Orange Spectacular this two weekends ago, you’ll be happy to know the 40th annual Heatwole Thresher Show is coming to McLeod County.

The popular event, which is 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 10-11, typically hosts more than 1,000 people at the Heatwole Threshing Association’s grounds in Lynn Township. It’s a two-day celebration of traditional farming techniques and machinery.

“Our goal is to preserve that method of farming” said Cory Henke, the association’s president.

What really draws people to this event is threshing, which is the practice of removing the seeds from grain in husks and stalks. In modern farming, Henke said combines are used instead.

Visitors can watch live demonstrations of threshing, tractor pulling and tractor games, including a barrel roll race, slow race and blindfolded driving.

“That’s always a big draw,” Henke said.

A variety of machines will also be on display this year, including three threshing machines, a grain binder and many antique tractors.

“We usually average 150 tractors displayed,” Henke said.

Each year the event typically highlights a certain tractor. Henke said the association decided to take a different approach this year and will feature a variety of steel wheel tractors, not just one type.

“They’re a little harder to haul, but they’ll make it out to the show,” he said.

In honor of its 40th year, the event will also showcase special exhibits such as a corn shredder that will be on display.

There will also be an old fashioned saw mill, blacksmith shop and a display of small gas engines. Henke said they’ve seen a new enthusiasm for small gas engines, which were used to power farming essentials..

“It’s important for people to know the amount of work it took to farm back then,” said Henke. “It took days and days, instead of sitting in an air-conditioned combine.”

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