A good, old-fashioned Threshing
What started as a way to celebrate birthdays has grown into an area celebration in Elmore.
The Threshing Bee in Elmore began in 1994 when cousins George and Lawrence Huber decided to celebrate their 60th birthdays by trying out some old machinery.
“My dad and uncle had an old-fashioned threshing machine and we decided to try it out,” George Huber recalls.
His cousin Lawrence, who has passed away, also had a binder to tie up the oat shocks.
Since 1995, the second year of the bee, the event has been held every-other year.
This year it was on Aug. 8, at Woods Lake Park near Elmore.
“It has become a neighborhood gathering, mainly,” says Huber. “A lot of family members, friends and neighbors get together for the day.”
They operate two threshing machines; a Red River Special, and a Huber. The Huber was a Christmas gift to George from his wife Mary a three years ago.
But there is a lot of work that goes into the threshing bee before the actual event.
“We planted four acres of oats on Maunday Thursday,” Huber says. “On July 23 we cut the oats.”
There were about 20 people who helped out with the harvest. George drove the tractor, while Lawrence’s brother Eldon Huber operated the binder.
“I had the easy job,” George says with a smile.
The others helping out take seven or eight bundles and make a shock, using a 3-prong pitch fork. Later, the shocks are all picked up and loaded on hay bale racks.
“Nobody has the old bundle racks anymore, or we would use them,” George says.
Chuck Huber, Scott Legried and Russell Huber all assisted with the project, although there were plenty of others willing to help out.
The actual threshing bee started with just a few relatives and neighbors, George recalls.
“It was never meant to be a big thing, but it just keeps growing,” he says.
This year there was a flea market, noon meal and an antique tractor and car display as part of the event.
Before the threshing actually begins, there is a parade of the tractors, cars and equipment around Woods Lake Park
After the threshing bee is over, the group sells the oats to whoever wants them.
“Some years we sell the straw, too, but this year it was all too damp, so we burned it instead,” George says.
Next year the group of threshing enthusiasts will take the year off, but Huber says there will be one again in 2011.
“As long as we have a group of us interested in doing it, I’m sure we will keep on,” he says. “It really is a lot of fun.”