Manitoba Case Expo Show Report

Case tractor lined up chronologically

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The third annual International J.I. Case Heritage Exposition at Austin, Manitoba, on July 26-29, 1989, was the greatest gathering of vintage Case in history.

On display at Expo #3 approximately 21 full-size Case steam engines, more than 70 vintage Case tractors, nine scale-model operating steam engines of varying sizes, at least a half-dozen Case threshing machines, six Case cars (all in running condition), more than a dozen modern Case tractors and related pieces of equipment. There were eight Case eagles, eight dealer signs, and at least 43 other miscellaneous exhibits, ranging from plows to balers, literature to vintage Case farm toys, model farm displays and even a Case theme quilt.

The display of Canada-based steam and tractor power was awesome, with two 110 HP Case traction engines (one belonging to Jack Beamish of Hamiota, Manitoba, and the other owned by the hosting Manitoba Ag-Museum) and virtually the full line of other sizes of steamers on hand, plus a wide variety of crossmounts and other rare Case tractors. However, some 'imports' for the show attracted a lot of attention.

For starters, there was Sigmund Jacobson's magnificent 1922 40-72 tractor, which came all the way from Brocket, ND, and pulled eight bottoms plowing on Saturday afternoon, first in low gear and then in high, without missing a beat. There was also the vintage 30-60, brought to Austin by John Tysse of Crosby, North Dakota. What a sight to behold, the 40-72 and the 30-60 side-by-side, then running 1-2 in the parade line-up of tractors. There was great interest in a 1936 RC brought from Maryland by Case Heritage Foundation director Tony Wells, because it sported that Wells trademark-a peerless restoration to like-new condition. Amid the older, more weather beaten tractors, it was a marvelous thing to see people like Lavern Batie of Webster, South Dakota, and Larry Lowe of Manitoba working side-by-side trying to get the Manitoba Ag-Museum's old 12-20 started after it had been frozen-up for many years. It finally started!

Of the six Case Cars, four had never attended an Expo in the past. Three cars attended from Manitoba, including 'Miami Bob' McMillan's bodyless 1915 Model 25 chassis-with-motor that was making its first public appearance, while the 1913 touring car from the Elkhorn, MB, Antique Auto Museum (chaperoned by a wonderful new friend, Lind McAuley) was a gem to see because it was in original paint, and George Heaman's 1910 (the first year Case had a car!) five-passenger touring car attracted lots of well-deserved attention. Few people had seen a 1910 before. Another newcomer to Expo was John Gust from Bashaw, Alberta, who got his 1912 model 40 touring car running and nicely restored only weeks before Expo. The Gust car was acquired in not-so-good condition from an old gentleman in 1988 and it took a year of hard work to get her in tip-top shape, up to John's very high personal standard of restoration. Maryland's Tony Wells was on hand for the third straight Expo with his magnificently restored 1917 seven-passenger touring car from Maryland, while Stan and Katy Sill of Rockford, Ohio, checked in with their fantastic 1924 Model X Roadster that made its debut during Expo #2 at Kinzers. Assuming Aeroquip Corporation continues to provide some sponsoring support for this auto's appearance, the Sill's car is expected to be a featured attraction at next year's Case Heritage Expo in Brooks, Oregon.

There were eight of those wonderful old cast iron, four-foot Case dealer Eagles at Expo #3, a new record. Two each were brought to the show by Bob McMillan, the Manitoba Ag-Museum and Peter Cowan of Minnedosa, Manitoba.

In the last couple of years, the Frank Hillikers of Lakewood, Colorado, and Alex Zelankos of St. Catherines, Ontario, have been premier exhibitors under the Case Heritage 'big top.' They were truly stars of this year's event, but they had some company. For instance, Walter Ellis of Komoka, Ontario, came with one of his superb model farm exhibits; it was a Case-oriented farm with working equipment in the barn-yard and even a miniature Case Eagle standing watch. Then there were people like Charlie Brawn of Coleville, Saskatchewan, with a great toy display; Bill Day of the Rollag (Western Minnesota Threshers), who brought a small-scale 110 HP Case cutaway that fascinated steam buffs; Phyllis Elder of Hartney, MB, who displayed a dandy, newly completed quilt featuring silk-screened blocks of color photos showing Case Heritage activities; Elwood Heath of Waskada, MB, exhibiting superbly crafted wooden steam engine models; Clarence Hoehman of Pittsburg, Oklahoma, displaying some vintage literature and Case artifacts; and many, many more. By the way, Clarence, who is the Foundation's 'Case Car Doctor,' had a lot of fun driving and studying some Case Cars he hadn't seen before and also enjoyed working on the 40-72 and 30-60 tractor (he apparently is a pretty good 'Big Case Tractor Doctor' too!).

The International J.I. Case Heritage Foundation expresses its sincere appreciation to all the people associated with the Manitoba Agricultural Museum, including its staff and Board of Directors, its Ladies Auxiliary, and especially the Museum's Case Heritage Expo Committee (Chairman Jim Down, Terry Farley, Jack Beamish, Robert Beamish, Grant McEwan, Robert Anderson and Robert McMillan) for their cooperative spirit and generous contribution of time, hard work, expertise and ideas in making the 1989 Exposition such a pleasure. The Foundation also thanks exhibitors who came from far and near to make this a truly outstanding presentation of Case engines, tractors, machinery, cars and memorabilia for the education and enjoyment of all who attended.