These Guys Love Tractors

Shared Stories, This Week in History
on May 27, 2011

The third weekend in July the Dollinger farm in southeast Grundy County Illinois  in Channahon  hosts every kind of tractor that one could wish to see.  July 21-24, 2011

Tractors are lined up by size and color, the green Deeres, the red Internationals, the orange Minneapolis Molines, and the hulking Case Steam engines.  Smoke wafts above the grounds, and the steamers toot!  It’s the Threshermen’s Reunion!

The Will County Threshemen invite everyone to come and see how it is, and how farmining used to be done.

Fred Lestina, a retired school band director from Morris IL said the guys do it, “for the camaraderie, the opportunity to get together with other people who share our hobby.”

“It’s history personified,” said another Morris resident, Don Lyon.

Another member of the club, Al Heatherwick, from Frankfort, Il, said the show traces its roots to the early 1900’s when a crew of men was needed to run a threshing operation.  Some hauled the bundles of wheat from the field, others loaded it onto the big steam threshing machines, while other tended to the steam engines that ran the machines.  The women in the kitchen provided a delicious spread of food to feed the hungry workers.

Wheat threshing doesn’t rely on these large crews any longer, but the memory of those gatherings for the children and grandchildren of those threshers has kept alive the spirit of the threshing event.

Now, one can see logs being cut by a steam engine and corn being shucked likewise.  Lestina has his own set of mechanical engines which he displays and demonstrates.  Wheat gets threshed, too.  Children can ride the P & J steam engine, and everyone samples food from the vendors.  Now, the show is all about tractors, what is your favorite kind, how the engines toot, and what a day in the country really feels like.

The threshemen can be found at  And the details of the event day are at        Toot!  Toot!