59th annual Steam, Gas & Threshing Show kicks off in Pinckneyvil - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

59th annual Steam, Gas & Threshing Show kicks off in Pinckneyville

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PINCKNEYVILLE, Ill. -- The Pinckneyville community is hosting the 59th annual American Thresherman Association Steam, Gas & Threshing Show. 

The show draws thousands of people to see a variety of antique machinery at work, some more than a 100 years old.

Bill Jansen, who now serves as the Steam, Gas and Threshing Show Director, has been coming to the event since he was 5 years old.

"When I was first here, we had 100 tractors and that was a big deal, now's there's over 1,000," Jansen said.

He drives 125 miles down from Effingham every year to participate with his 48,000-pound steam engine. 

"When that's on my lowboy trailer, it's like get out of my way, I'm coming down the highway. That's 13-feet wide," Jansen said.

He said he's never missed a year.

"We're touching 20,000 people that come through this every year," Jansen said. "It's probably one of the best shows in Illinois."

Four generations later, it's a tradition his family is still a part of.

"They wanted to keep that stuff alive and not only my dad and my uncles but other people that love this old stuff," Jansen said.

The 4-day event will include everything from tractor pulls to wheat threshing, featuring antique machinery, like Jansen's 1911 110 Horse Power Steam engine. Every evening when it gets dark, you'll catch a steam engine spark show.

"So we put ground up corn cobs or sawdust in the fire box and when we start loading it up, it's kind of like a big Roman candle that comes out," Jansen said.

It's a lifestyle he's hoping generations won't soon forget.

"My grandson is actually the fourth generation of the Jansens that's been at the show," Jansen said. "We're trying to show people how farmers made a living back in the day and we're trying to keep that alive." 

For more information or to find the full schedule of events, visit here.

News 3's John Ross reported on this story alongside Hannah Gebresilassie.

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