R.D.# 1, Box l06 Canton, Kansas 67428
The Wheat Heritage Engine & Threshing Co. ( W.H.E.A.T. CO.) and the Mennonite Heritage Museum of Goessel held their 17th annual Country Threshing Days August 3rd, 4th and 5th, 1990.
Friday was designated set-up day. Four bundle wagons of wheat were gathered earlier in the week, because of forecasted rain for the weekend. Unfortunately, the rains did come most of Friday and left three more loads shocked in the field. One more half load showed up from the Museum's turkey red plot. The rain also hampered setting up and unloading, somewhat, until later that evening. The crew then enjoyed hot dogs and 'fixins', furnished by several of the members' 'better looking halves'.
Saturday was a beautiful day! Lots of visitors and exhibitors came to enjoy the show. This year's show theme was first generation tractors, and ended up being well represented. Deemer Unruh packed most of his collection over from McPherson with some members providing the loading, hauling, and unloading. Dave Sebits' truck was overworked as usual with great enthusiasm by its owner (thanks, Dave!). Deemer's exhibits included: a 12-25 Wallis, 1918 Parrot, 18-36 Hart Parr, 1916 8-16 Mogul, 10-20 Titan, 12-27 Waterloo Boy, Moline Universal and two steam traction engines. Virgil Litke brought a nice Bull tractor. Frank Heyman brought a big 25-45 Case Crossmotor which he belted to an early Case separator during the show. Walden Duerkson had his spoke flywheel John Deere D. Other gas tractors, totaling some 70 or thereabouts, supported their own display proudly with makes and models as well as owners too numerous to mention but enjoyed and well appreciated.
Stationary engines were represented by some 50 in number. We would like to encourage more stationary engine owners to bring them to our next show. Don't let the tractor guys outnumber us! The club's own 200 HP De La Vergne two cylinder horizontal and 100 HP Fairbanks two cylinder upright were running well, thanks to our head engineer, Jim Weins of Goessel. Come see these big engines! Both took a lot of selfless sweat and sacrifice from the membership to be found, moved, and put back in running condition. We hope to have write-ups on these in future issues of this grand magazine.
One impressive display that deserves mention is the Wilbert Bartel family's ice cream freezer. It is belted to some gearing from a 25 HP De La Vergne engine. (A little overkill, but a lot of fun.) Makes a lot of ice cream, too.
Five steam traction engines were displayed, including Glen Litke's 20 HP Avery return flue, Richard Wall's 13 HP Reeves, Jerry Toewes' 40 HP Case, and Deemer's 18 HP Peerless and 16 HP Advance. There were three models of steam traction engines owned by Joe Heath, Moses Voth, and Dave Sebits.
Threshing straw boss was Bob Unruh from Hillsboro, with a host of help. Two Case threshers and a nice John Deere owned by Henry Loepp were present.
Stationary baling was done by Jim Walton and Dennis Schroeder with Jim's Fordson and an IHC baler. Corn shelling was all Minneapolis, with Joe Harper's Minne cross motor and Minne sheller. It was a nice looking rig.
A Saturday morning parade downtown, afternoon entertainment of all kinds, parade of power on the grounds, slow tractor races headed by John Weibe, and many other things filled the day. That evening, exhibitors were treated to Joe Heath's famous beans, etc. Then everyone pitched in to frantically belt up the Reeves steam engine to a separator for a photo session of threshing. The photographer was taking pictures for a National Geographic article on midwest life, and wanted to catch the threshing with the sun setting for the right lighting. The boys got belted up and rolling in record time and all went well.
Sunday started with morning worship service under the tent. Then afternoon included the parade of power, horse drawn sulky plowing, bundle loading of shocks out of the field with horse drawn wagon, threshing and stationary baling. All three days the museum hosted visitors. Wilbert Bartel and Fred Unruh stretched a chain between Wilbert's John Deere D and Fred's Cletrac crawler for a little tug of war. Wilbert's D has been modified by cutting the crankshaft and cam and re-welding so that the pistons run together. This tractor runs and pulls very well, but the Cletrac prevailed.
I regret that, due to premature memory loss and ignorance, I cannot mention all who participated this year. We would like to invite, free, all exhibitors of engines, tractors, machinery, toys, horses, cars, trucks, etc. to our show August 2-4,1991. Come enjoy the small farm community hospitality. For information contact Russ Hamm, Rt. 1, Box 106, Canton, KS 67428. Phone: (316)628-4975.