ESTEVAN - The Estevan Model Engineering Show attracted many participants from all across North America as well as many guests from all over the southeast and further.
The Wylie-Mitchell Hall was a busy place on Saturday, the most active day for the two-day event. The oldest model engineering show in North America marked its 33rd anniversary this year.
While moving, huffing and puffing models were the focus of the Estevan Model Engineering Show, wives of engine builders added diversity by bringing their unique hobbies over for display. One side of the exhibition was filled with hand creations of a different kind, including quilts, home décor, sewing, painting and more.
Many engine builders were part of the Estevan Model Engineering Show for years and comments about a need for "new blood" could be heard quite often. But this year's show also saw some new and young participants joining the event.
Wyatt Abey, who is now 10 years old, joined the show thanks to his father's hobby and interest, and after he met long-time participant Clif Roemmich three years ago at another show in Minnesota.
"One day I came home from school and my dad showed me a picture – casting kit for one of these (engine models). I got the casting kit," recalled Wyatt. "And then I met Clifford. And he offered to build it for me at the end of the show. We took it down to his house. And three years later I got it this year."
To make it fair, over the course of the three COVID years, which pushed the hobbyists' next meeting back, Roemmich also built an engine for Wyatt's younger brother, and both young men joined the show in Estevan this year.
"I think we're the youngest ones on the other side of the table here," Wyatt said.
He added that he keeps learning more about model engineering, which he's been into since he was two months old. That's when he got his first model. His father helps him a lot, and now Roemmich also guides him in the hobby. Both models built for the Abey brothers were a part of the Estevan show.
Roemmich has been building model engines for decades, some by blueprints, and many by scaling and recreating the real engines he's seen or found online in his head.
He said this hobby never gets old, as there is always room for improvement and progress.
"Little by little, that was my goal that every model will be better than the last one," Roemmich said.
After he retired and had more time to dedicate to his hobby, he decided to market some of his high-quality collectable models. The interest was there, so over the years, he sold about 40 models out of about 150 he's built. Sales of his engines help him to cover the costs of tools, equipment and building new models.
"For me, it's not owning them, it's the building," Roemmich said.
He added that a big part of his passion for model engineering is the shows, and the best part about shows is the interaction with other participants and guests. Roemmich's hope is to get the younger generation involved so that they will be able to carry the hobby into the future.
"It's a wonderful hobby," Roemmich said.
He hopes to see the young Abeys and many other kids and young adults growing their passion for model engineering and eventually becoming regular participants of different shows.
At the Estevan Model Engineering Show, he had some of his high-end builds, which also preserve history.
"I like to build models with historic significance, bring it back to life," Roemmich said.
One of his biggest projects is a six-foot-tall Ferris wheel model that is on permanent display in Minnesota now, but was a part of the Estevan Model Engineering Show in 2011.