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Wheat from chaff

West Central Region Cockshutt & Co-Op Club Threshing Bee

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
David Carlson, of Otho, watches the threshing crew from the sidelines at the 2018 West Central Region Cockshutt & Co-op Club Homer Threshing Bee in Homer.

HOMER — While the majority of the tractors seen on local fields in the area are now green or red, once upon a time, many of them sported other colors and could be purchased at the local Gambles Hardware or co-op.

Some restored examples of those fine old machines can be seen on Saturday and Sunday at the annual West Central Region Cockshutt & Co-Op Club Threshing Bee in Homer.

Don Lamb, who helped co-found the show and serves as vice president for the club, said that in addition to the featured brands, there will be plenty of Cockshutt on hand as well as what once a staple of life on the farm.

“Our secondary theme will be all makes of hit and miss engines,” he said.

Those old motors were used on farms before rural electrification to power nearly everything from water pumps to washing machines.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
April Patten, at left, along with Sean Collette, both of Odgen, feed the antique threshing machine Saturday afternoon at the West Central Region Cockshutt & Co-op Club Homer Threshing Bee in Homer.

They are nicknamed hit and miss for the way they run, frequently missing a firing or two as their single cylinder turns a flywheel.

The show is about one thing.

“We do it to have a lot of fun,” Lamb said.

Lamb is also expecting a treat for fans of an even older technology than gas or diesel engines. He said a show participant will be bringing a steam tractor.

During the threshing bee, the old tractors get to do some work. Their owners connect them to an old hand fed threshing machine, volunteers feed in oats, and the thresher separates the oats from the chaff.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Tim Berven, of Stanhope, parks a for sale Farmall tractor he was taking for a test drive Saturday at the West Central Region Cockshutt & Co-op Club Homer Threshing Bee in Homer.

Fair warning — don’t get downwind of the running machine — dust from oats really itches.

The show will also feature blacksmithing demonstrations by Stratford artisan Ty Murray, owner of Boone Forks Forge Blacksmithing, and the Cecil Widick Family sawmill will be running.

Other demonstrations include corn shelling, wood planing, baling and ham radio. There will also be a collection of hog oilers, farm primitives as well as display of Cockshutt history.

Each day of the show, the food stand opens at noon.

There is also a Lions Club pancake breakfast from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday and homemade ice cream.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Ty Murray, of Stratford, works on creating a steel cobra Saturday afternoon at the West Central Region Cockshutt & Co-op Club Homer Threshing Bee in Homer. Murray spent the day demonstrating his skills for visitors.

Weather permitting, a tractor ride from Homer to the Brushy Creek State Recreation Area will start at 9 a.m. on Sunday.

Admission to the Threshing Bee is $5 per person.

Homer is located eight miles north of Stratford on Hamilton County Road R21. It can also be accessed from the intersection of U.S. Highway 20 and Iowa Highway 17 near Webster City by traveling south.