100 Years of Horsepower show combines past with present

Tom Renner, left, and his son, Jake, pose on their farm in Belleville (St. Clair County) where they plan to host the 100 Years of Horsepower show Aug. 28-29. (Photo by Daniel Grant)

Editor's Note, 8/7/2020: This event has been canceled. Read more here.

Tractor and farm equipment enthusiasts have a chance to see a little bit of everything Aug. 28-29 at the 100 Years of Horsepower show.

The biannual event will be held at Renner Stock Farms, 3412 Carlyle Ave., Belleville, near the intersection of Illinois Routes 161/158.

“This show has something for everyone,” said show organizer and host Tom Renner, a St. Clair County Farm Bureau member. “It’s like the Half Century of Progress show (the largest working antique farm show in the U.S. held in Rantoul) and the Farm Progress Show put together.”

The 100 Years of Horsepower show features an extensive collection of antique tractors and implements on display, including classic four-wheel drive and tandem tractors, as well as live demonstrations, including steam threshing of wheat, corn picking and shelling each day, a corn shucking contest, an early 1900s sawmill and chainsaw carving.

It also features a lineup of new farm equipment and a solar energy display. Renner’s farm runs on solar power.

The show started 14 years ago when Renner and fellow draft horse enthusiasts put together an event. Renner and his son, Jake, who operate a John Deere dealership, started bringing tractors to the event and it grew from there. They currently have 21 sponsors for this year’s show.

Daily activities at the show will include flour milling, soil pits, blacksmithing, broom making, horse and tractor tillage activities, and horse logging and relay competitions. A youth livestock show and junior rodeo will also be held along with live music each night. Tours of Renner’s farm museum will be conducted on a limited basis to allow for social distancing.

“We’re taking the maximum COVID precautions,” Renner said. “Food handlers are all certified by the health department, we’re telling everyone to maintain 6-feet distance and wear masks where needed, and we’ve got hand sanitizing stations.”

As long as the reopening plan for Illinois’s COVID-19-related restrictions remains in Phase 4, Renner plans to host the show. However, if the state’s reopening plan moves back to Phase 3, the show will be canceled.

For more information about the show, contact Renner at 618-973-4596 or 618-744-0433. Renner encourages those interested in attending the show to confirm plans prior to making the trip.