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Flywheelers put on their annual show in Shoshoni
Mike Kennedy, driving his 23,000-pound 1914 Reeves steam tractor, watched as Ed Thomas of Kinnear drove his old yard tractor close to the giant's wake during the Wind River Flywheelers Don Layton Memorial Tractor Days in Shoshoni. Photos by Wayne Nicholls

Flywheelers put on their annual show in Shoshoni

Jun 10, 2012 - By Christina George, Staff Writer

Looking at the many people gathered Saturday morning at East Park in Shoshoni for the Don Layton Memorial Antique Engine and Tractor Show, Dave Stark could see how the event has grown since its inception 17 years ago.

"It seems like it has grown every year. It slowed for a bit when gas prices started to go up, but it's picked back up in the last three or four years," the Riverton man said.

Stark is president of the Wind River Flywheelers, which sponsored the two-day antique show. He was part of the original group that started the event held every year in Shoshoni.

"We wanted to show people what old machinery used to do in the field," Stark said about how the show got its start.

The demonstrations Saturday included an old corn shucker spitting kernels into the bed of an old Chevy pickup truck, and a tractor and lawnmower pulling competition.

Parade first

Saturday's festivities kicked off with a 10 a.m. parade down Shoshoni's main street. Crowds lined both sides of the route, some in lawn chairs, others squatting on the street curbs, and watched as about 40 antique tractors and cars drove by.

Amid the admiring "oohs" and "aahs," spectators snapped photos and listened to John Holm of Thermopolis speak about each of the entries.

Oldies but goodies

Stark was behind the wheel of a 1950 Minneapolis Moline R tractor. At the start of the line was Jim Farmer of Thermopolis atop a 1945 John Deere tractor.

A 1914 steamer, driven by Mike Kennedy of Gillette, followed. The vehicle entries in the parade included a 1934 Ford pickup driven by Fred Hanson of Thermopolis.

"I love to come to the tractor show every year," Mary Ellen Christensen of Riverton said. "It's such a nice, local event."

The Riverton City Councilwoman has attended the show in Shoshoni for five or six years.

"It's one of those events that not everyone has. I like to support it because I don't want to see it go away," she said.

There were a few attendees on Saturday who were first-timers to the antique spread.

Darrell Henrichs and wife Sandy were invited to the event by fellow Riverton residents Donald and ReNae Hedges.

"I have never been before, but there's a lot of old tractors here, and I am interested in them because I used to farm," Darrell Henrichs said.

"I like to look at these tractors because it makes me thankful I didn't have to use the old ones," he added with chuckle.

In between the parade and tractor games, people walked around and looked at the many vendors offering trinkets. The smell of hot dogs from Steve Medler's cart mixed in the air with the sweet smell of kettle corn.

There was also Dutch oven cooking, rope making, a trailer museum, and an exhibit of antique sewing machines.

The many engines that roared Saturday were of all different sizes. One of the smallest in the show was attached to Bob Michaels's 1909 Indian model motorbike.

Michaels, of Worland, said the bike, which he finished assembling three weeks ago, has one speed and has reached 25 mph. He has owned the motor for 20 years, and about three years ago purchased the bike after seeing a motorbike in Las Vegas.

"I was concerned about the bike's wooden rims at first," he said. "But then I learned they are still being built."

He smiled when asked if he's ridden his new wheels.

"Only once," he said.

"It probably is worth $12,000 to $30,000," Michaels said. "But that don't matter, 'cause I ain't ever gonna sell it."

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