Threshing bee a chance to see ag equipment at work

Lisa Depies
Kevin, left, and Chuck Bos stand by a 1947 John Deere combine, one of the first self-propelled combines made by the company. The 70-year old combine will be used at the second-annual Bos Brothers Old-Fashioned Threshing Bee on July 29-30.

Agriculture equipment preserved in a museum can show visitors what something looked like, but to truly understand how the equipment worked, visitors have to see it in action.

“People want to hear the machinery and see how the parts move. They want to watch it go through a field,” explained Chuck Bos.

To help recapture bygone days of farming, Chuck and his brother, Kevin Bos, will host the second-annual Bos Brothers Old-Fashioned Threshing Bee.

The brothers said the tractors and engines at the threshing bee “are not just smoking and standing - they are moving, plowing, hauling or operating machinery on the grounds.”

The threshing bee will be Saturday, July 29 and Sunday, July 30 at the William Rutherford Farm (29265 Co. Hwy 1, in Erie).

Twenty acres of wheat will be harvested using equipment from the early 1900s through the 1960s. Following the harvest, the wheat stubble will be plowed, worked down and seeded using equipment from the same era.

In addition, visitors will have the chance to watch a corn sheller, hay press, husker shredder, rock crusher and other implements in action.

“We’re interested in educating our visitors,” said Kevin. “We want them to know where their food source comes from.”

Wheat harvested from the field will be milled and used to bake bread.

“The wheat will go from standing in the field to being ready to serve as bread,” said Kevin.

“It’s about connecting the dots,” said Chuck.

The Old-Fashioned Threshing Bee will give visitors the chance to have “hands on” farming experience.

“We want them to be involved and to be a part of it. When you participate in something, it sticks in your mind better,” said Kevin.

While Kevin and Chuck are brothers, they’re not the “Bos Brothers” referred to in the event title. That honor goes to their father and his brothers.

“Our dad, Charles, and his three brothers (Bill, Pete and Rob) all farmed together. From the very beginning, they were called the Bos Brothers,” said Chuck.

Old receipts and farm manuals are labeled “Bos Bros” and the four were known as a group.

“Because they were the younger generation when they started farming, they were very modern in their techniques,” said Kevin. The Bos Brothers, for example, had drying bins long before others in the area.

Despite their eye to the future, the foursome farmed in an era of neighborly cooperation.

“During that time period, everybody helped one another out. When it came time to sort hogs, or thresh wheat or shell corn, neighbors all came together,” said Kevin.

The Old-Fashioned Threshing Bee aims to re-capture that era of neighbor helping neighbor.

Parking and admission to the show are free. Food will be available at the event.

“Our first year, I think people were surprised by the amount and variety of equipment we had,” said Kevin.

Visitors attending the first threshing bee came for a few hours “and ended up

spending the entire day,”

said Chuck.

Though the event may be billed as “old-fashioned” the organizers are utilizing a Facebook page to help share up-to-date information about the two-day event.