Deer Creek Sodbusters to host annual event in August

Nebraska City News-Press

The 39th annual Antique Machinery Show and Plowing Bee sponsored by Deer Creek Sodbusters, Inc. will be Sunday, Aug. 8, at the Deer Creek Show grounds, at 72927 610 Ave, four and a quarter miles south of Sterling, or two and a half miles north of Higway 136 on County Road 610 (Sterling Road).

Activities will begin at 8 a.m. with the flag raising ceremony and will run throughout the day until late afternoon.

The American Legion Post 140 from Sterling will perform the flag raising ceremonies and will also lead the parade with a color guard.  The parade is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.

Following the flag raising ceremonies, at approximately 8:15 a.m., an outdoor church service will be held.  The service will be led by Rev .Kevin Arndt, pastor of St. John Lutheran Church of Sterling.

At 11:30 a.m. guest speaker Dan Holtz will present “All Original, All Nebraska” in which he celebrates and commemorates people, places, and events in Nebraska history through original songs (accompanied by guitar and harmonica) and the stories and background behind them. The songs’ subjects range from a general celebration of Nebraska (“We’re Nebraska”); to a retrospective on the Sandhills; to a tribute to Susan LaFlesche Picotte, the first Native American woman to become a medical doctor; to a salute to Husker football; to a tribute to the migration of the Sandhill Cranes; and more. This presentation is made possible by Humanities Nebraska, the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, and Deer Creek Sodbusters, Inc. as part of the HN Speakers Bureau. 

Dan Holtz is a recently retired professor of English at Peru State College, where he taught from 1987 to 2016. He is the recipient of the 2000 Nebraska State College System Teaching Excellence Award and the 2015 Addison E. Sheldon Award for the preservation and interpretation of Nebraska history. He is also a past president of the Board of Trustees of the Nebraska State Historical Society and served as a member of the Nebraska 150 Foundation, a statewide committee involved in planning Nebraska’s Sesquicentennial celebration/commemoration. He has performed and presented programs for civic, historical, and literary organizations across Nebraska as well as at the Nebraska State Capitol, the Nebraska State Historical Society, the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer, Scottsbluff National Monument and the John Neihardt Center. Additionally, he has appeared at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts and at the Bob Devaney Center for the state quarter dedication ceremony in 2006. In June of 2016, he released his second CD, “All Original, All Nebraska,” a collection of songs he wrote about people, places, and events in Nebraska.

This year will be the fourth appearance of Professor Holtz at the Deer Creek Sodbusters annual event. His previous appearances were in the years 2005 2010, and 2014. He was well received by his audience on his three previous appearances. 

“All Original, All Nebraska” is one of approximately 300 programs offered through the Humanities Nebraska Speakers Bureau. The more than 165 available speakers include acclaimed scholars, writers, musicians, story tellers and folklorists on topics ranging from pioneer heritage to ethics and law to international and multicultural issues, making it the largest humanities speaker's bureau in the nation. Speakers are available to any non-profit organization in Nebraska. Each program lasts 30 minutes to an hour, plus a question-and-answer period.

The most frequent users of the HN Speakers Bureau are primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, libraries, museums and historical societies, agencies for the elderly, rural organizations, churches, arts organizations, and ethnic organizations. Humanities Nebraska sponsors the largest Speakers Bureau program in the U.S. according to the National Endowment for the Humanities.

For information detailing the available speakers and guidelines for booking them, please access their website at (Speakers section) or contact Humanities Nebraska at 215 Centennial Mall South, Suite 330, Lincoln, NE 68508, phone (402) 474-2131, fax (402) 474-4852 or e-mail

Musical entertainment at this year’s show will be provided by the Get Together Band in the morning from 9 to 11 am and in the afternoon from 2:30 to 4 pm. The Get Together Band will play and sing a variety of music including traditional folk, country, and country gospel music.

Demonstrations of operating machinery such as threshing, corn shelling, corn binding, silage chopping, stationary baler, small grain binding and farming with draft horses will be held in the morning between 9:30 a.m. and 12 noon and again in the afternoon between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.  Plowing demonstrations will be held in the afternoon as well, following the parade.

In addition to machinery and farming demonstrations, the show will feature day-long exhibits of antique tractors, steam engines, gas engines and antique automobiles and trucks.

For the enjoyment of the ladies, the show will feature arts and craft exhibits, a flea market and souvenir stand.  Lunch will be served throughout the day by the Deer Creek Sodbusters and there will be ample supplies of cold soft drinks, lemonade, bottled water and iced tea, along with plenty of shade to relax in if the day is really hot.

For the enjoyment of the children, the show will feature a children’s playground and a children’s barnyard, and a kid’s straw pile scavenger hunt where children ages 2 to pre-teen will hunt for candy treats and coins hidden in a pile of straw.  The hunt is scheduled to begin at 1:45 p.m. 

Demonstrations of lumber sawing with the Deer Creek Sodbusters’ sawmill will be performed several times during the day.    Blacksmithing will be demonstrated again this year by the members of the Prairie Blacksmith organization.

Other show attractions include the museum in the mow (upstairs) of the utility barn on the show grounds which will display miscellaneous antique tools, small implements and household items, and the “Rusty Iron Museum” a collection of items of old machinery, which are somewhat rare or unique, but not necessarily operational anymore.

This year’s show will include a special new exhibit at their printshop museum -- the Linotype machine that had been used by the Tecumseh Chieftain for printing of their weekly newspaper for many years until it became obsolete due to the emergence of the computer age. When they moved their business to a different building in Tecumseh, the Chieftain donated the machine to the Sodbusters. There was already a link to the Sodbusters as club member JoAnn (Wolff) Trout had operated the machine for a couple of years in the late 1960’s as her first fulltime job out of high school.

This year's show will feature Ford tractors and gas engine lines P-Q-R.

Admission for the show is $7.00 per person, with children under age 12 admitted free.  This is a very reasonable cost for the entertainment being provided.  With high gas prices and “normalcy” being slowly restored from the Covid-19 pandemic, it is understandable how some families will still be scaling back on their travel and entertainment budgets this summer. But this event offers an opportunity for quality entertainment close to home for many folks throughout Southeast Nebraska as well as adjacent areas of the neighboring states of Kansas, Missouri, and Iowa.

Deer Creek Sodbusters, Inc. is a non-profit corporation and all proceeds raised by gate admissions, food stand, and souvenir stand will be used to cover the cost of putting on the show and making further improvements to the show grounds for future years.

The Deer Creek Sodbusters are inviting everyone who is interested to come and exhibit and/or attend the show.  They hope to see many of their friends and neighbors Sunday, August 8, 2021.  The Sodbusters promise to entertain and enlighten you as to our proud heritage which is important to preserve for future generations.

For further details about the Deer Creek Sodbusters and this year’s show, as well as details about their show grounds/museum, the history of the club and of the show, and other activities the club is involved in, visit their website at or check them out on Facebook at

The Deer Creek Sodbusters show is the only antique tractor and machinery in the state of Nebraska to be officially designated a “Local Legacy” by the U.S. Library of Congress.  To learn more about this program visit the Sodbusters Local Legacy project summery page at

If you ever get to Washington DC for any reason, stop by the Library of Congress, Folklife Center to see their Local Legacy documentation Package.