The Mid-States Antique Show was organized to bring future generation's artifacts that told of lives and the existence of people who pioneered in making life easier to cope with.
Ashley A. Boller, Walter Hannssen, Maurice Robertson, and Clarke Hall were the founders of Mid-States Antique Show with the help of Deforrest Brown who was enlisted to be the manager the first and part of the second year, until incorporation was started and officers were elected in 1979. Clarke Hall was elected president and finished the remainder of the second year and all of the third term. Kenneth Dokter was elected president for the fourth term.
In August 1979, the first Mid-States Antique Show was held at the Cass County Fair grounds in Weeping Water, Nebraska. A two-day show was coordinated and put into motion. With the interest of so many people to show their belongings, the motto "If you're proud of it, show it!" came into being. The founders worked hard at getting community support and spent a lot of hours getting things in motion. All types of strange and unusual bits of machinery showed up for the exhibition. Each reflected a piece of agricultures past. We had numerous demonstrations and lots of local volunteer help. Donated oats were planted, cut with an old binder, and shocked into bundles to be used in the threshing machine. Attractions for the crowd were varied and numerous. A quilt was raffled off, and the feature attraction was the antique tractor pull and a parade which closed the show. Costs were prohibitive that the annual event remain at the fairgrounds, and the search for a new site was undertaken. From these simple beginnings, lays the foundation of what Mid-States is today.
In 1980, a new site was selected at the Ashley A. Boller farm of rural Ashland. Ashley leased a portion of his farm for the club to set up their exhibitions and displays. Before the first show took place at the Boller farm we became incorporated as "Mid-States Antique Show" officially.
As we moved into the plans for the show, a gate house was built at the entrance to the show grounds, a loading dock made available, and the farms original orchard became the site for our flea market vendors. Areas were plotted out for particular display areas, such as the gasoline engines, grinders, and mills, also the coal-fired forge for our resident blacksmith. An operational sawmill was placed on the grounds, and load after load of donated rock was brought in to make viable roadways for exhibitors and visitors alike.
In 1981, a building a short distance from the grounds was donated to the club for lumber. The Boller farm original barn was also donated. From these two buildings emerged the present day show-site shelter. This shelter was designed to house equipment and permanent exhibits that have been donated to the club. Many man hours went into setting the poles and putting the structure together. Improvements came in the way of electricity and water for the use of all. In later years, a P.A. system was installed and continually improved.
Over the next few years further improvements were made to the grounds each year. Most done by members and local volunteers. A local seamstress, Carolyn Watson, helped design and finish a flag with the club's name and motto, "If your proud of it, show it!". For years this flag was carried at the beginning of each day's parade of tractors by Grace Boller until her passing in 2006. This tradition has been passed onto the current members. All makes and models of tractors have been exhibited over the years. Some rare and some not so rare, but each one came to the show with the pride of the owner having a piece of history.
The tractor pull has always been a favorite of exhibitors and visitors to the show. Initially a drag-type step on sled was used. In 1988, the completion of the mechanical weight transfer sled made the competition much more exciting for exhibitors and spectators. The "Big Sled" is used for Antique Rubber and Steel (1938 and older), Classic (1939-1952) and Late Models (1953-1959). In 1999, the "Small Sled" was added for tractors under 2,500 lbs. Garden Tractor pulls have risen in popularity and the "Small Sled" is almost exclusively used for this event. Both sleds were designed and built by donations of time and materials from many valued members and area friends and businesses.
Live folk/country music, catered food, and lots of activities make for a busy couple of days for both exhibitors and members. Not only members but the general public is encouraged to take part in demonstrations such as shelling corn or pitching bundles of hay into the threshing machine. Exhibitors are encouraged to hook their own tractors to the threshing machine or baker's fan to see what their personal piece of history can do. Children's entertainment has changed over the years. In the past a money-in-the-straw hunt and three-legged race were the big children's event. In 2007, a third sled was added to the festivities. This sled "Mighty Mouse" as it's come to be known, is used in the kiddie pedal tractor pull. Also in 2007, a tractor rodeo was introduced for the kids. The younger competitors use a pedal tractor and the older kids use a lawn tractor. The kids maneuver through a timed course testing their abilities to drive a tractor. All of the competitors receive candy and ribbons for their efforts. The adults attending appear to have as much fun watching, and the event gives a welcome break to sit and pass the time of day. Being close to Nebraska's Interstate 80 has brought visitors from across the country. Many of whom might never have known the experience of working with some of the equipment exhibited at each years show.
The years have encompassed many things, in growth and fulfillment of the ideas intended to be brought forth when our founding members first met in 1979. The loss of the founding members of the club have saddened us all, not only in the loss of family or personal friend, but also in the wealth of knowledge that no book can impart quite the same way as they did. Had it not been for their foresight and determination, much of this history would have been lost. Our sincere thanks to them for providing us a path to follow. We hope that we do them proud!
We have managed to put on a show each year, sometimes with or despite the weather. Our sincere and heartfelt thanks also to those who have given of themselves in manpower or materials over the years to make each and every show a success!