Saugeen Antique Power and Steam Show by Bob Weirmeir

On August 24th and 25th Saugeen Antique Power Association held their 25th anniversary at Cedar Rail Campgrounds in Scone, Ont. A Robert Bell steam engine, on loan from Grey Roots museum was there in all its glory. After a two-hour warmup, it was ready for work doing everything from taking it’s turn at the sawmill to steam cooking corn still in the husk. You’ve never tasted corn on the cob til you’ve tasted this.

From antique tractors and their implements to the craft tents with everything in between, it was a well-rounded show. Blacksmithing and woodcarving were also in the mix. The 4th annual lawn and garden swap meet brought Wheel horse, Allis Chalmers and Cub Cadet collections into our view.

Teams of horses either pulled plows, cultivators and discs, or wagons for people to ride around the grounds to view the various displays. Attendance, I think was down a little this year and it makes you wonder why. Today’s modern equipment seems to bear little resemblance to the vintage equipment at the show. And as we look at the comfort, speed and efficiency, you may be right. But look for a moment to where it all started. The modern internal combustion engine, either gasoline or diesel, has essentially been the same for the last one hundred or so years. Even then, its design came partially from the steam engine. The ungainly threshing machine has transformed into combines with very few modifications for many years.

To really appreciate what we have today, a visit to shows like these to see the true inventors, the ones that took us from beating grain to release it from the chaff to mechanism in its present state. From the horse, through the steam to the marvels of internal combustion. They are the real heroes; the rest is just modifications. To see the future, we have to understand the past (sounds like Landowner philosophy).

The true heroes of these shows are the volunteers that put the weekend together. From the people setting up perimeter fencing to people setting up tables and chairs, to people manning the kitchen to people selling tickets at the gate, the list goes on. They are all volunteering their time. People working continuously from set-up to clean-up, planning a year in advance. In 48 hours, it is all over. In September they will sit down again and start planning all over for the show next August. Unfortunately, the ranks of these people is thinning. Age is robbing some of them of the ability to do what they have been doing. Younger people have a hard time making the commitment needed to take over some of the workload, jobs and family needing to come first (again sounds like the Landowner Assn.). When you see shows like this in your area, think of all the work being done by volunteers just so you have the chance to see the phenomenal change that has occurred all around us is not that big of a step after all.

Hats off to all the great people who make shows like this possible.