Larry Werth's favorite antique was a 1964 orchard tractor once used in Florida. The 730 Case diesel has a dual-range drive and was the last tractor Werth restored. Photo By Supplied
Union Thresheree set for July 27-29 in Symco
The 45th annual Union Thresheree and National Antique Tractor Pull will be held July 27-29 in Symco.
This year's thresheree features Case tractors and equipment and also Stover gas engines.
"This is one of the biggest and best thresherees around," said Paul Timm. He is a member of the Union Thresherman's Club, which sponsors the show.
Kicking off the three-day show is a concert starting at 8 p.m. Friday, July 27, featuring "Big Back Yard." Based out of Eau Claire, this high energy country music band is described as having "a rock-n-roll attitude."
The National Antique Tractor Pull is held Saturday, beginning at 9 a.m. There is also a Kids Pedal Pull at 9:30 a.m. and an Adult Pedal Pull at 9 p.m.
Sunday's highlight is the Chain Saw Contest at 3 p.m. and music from 1-6 p.m.
Besides antique tractors and machinery, visitors can stroll the streets of Unionville. This town of yesteryear includes a general store, fire station, print shop, sawmill and a feed mill powered by a water wheel.
The newest attraction in Unionville is the blacksmith shop, which will be fully operational for the thresheree. Besides a display of old equipment, this building will provide blacksmith demonstrations.
The water wheel at the feed mill will also be fully operational by July 27-29. The only piece missing was a shaft for the grist mill.
A major change for the 2012 thresheree is the relocation of the Feature Tractor Area. In past years, the display was next to the tractor pull area.
According to Paul Timm, the feature tractors will now be located at the past site of the campground, which has been moved to the hill west of the thresheree grounds.
"There's more shade and it will be a more scenic display," Timm explained.
Future plans call for a new visitors' registration station, a candy store and a shed to store combines, which will also include improved bathroom and shower facilities.
Adult admission is $5 per day; children 12 and under are admitted free.
Symco is located four miles north of Manawa on State Highway 22.
Next year's dates will be July 26-28, featuring John Deere tractors and equipment and also Waterloo Boy gas engines.
For more information, visit symcoutc.com.
A man with a dream
This will be the first Union Thresheree without curator Larry Werth, who died May 23, 2012, at the age of 69.
"We will miss him," said Gene Rice, a member of the Union Thresheman's Club (UTC).
"He always had something for you to do and before you got that done, he had more things for you to do," Rice continued. "We're still doing jobs he had assigned. He definitely kept things going."
"Larry had a knack for getting people to help him in his dream," said UTC member Blake Johnston. "Larry had guys helping build the building and had them believing that they were really having a good time, even in 90-degree weather."
Johnston credits Werth with creating Unionville and the Union Thresheree.
"We may not have been serious, but Larry was and (continued to) work on convincing us into the big tractor show concept," he recalled. "It took him a few years. He didn't give up and soon had us building and pouring concrete. It was now becoming a serious club."
"How many people beside Larry do you know that had a dream in 1962 and in 2012 still kept that dream alive?" Johnston said. "The last time I saw Larry (a week before he died) we were buying roofing, lumber and talking about building more buildings. Even in a wheelchair and feeling lousy, he was able to keep his dream alive."
"Larry was driven and passionate about the growth of the thresheree ground," another UTC member said. "He was down to earth, very giving, concerned about others and their safety, and had a long-term vision for the future of the club."
"Grandpa put in a lot of time, work and ... improvements to help everyone remember the old days and old friends," said his granddaughter Kassidy Timm.