Riverbend Steam and Gas Show


Top: rows of tractors at the 1997 show.

Rick Gilder

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2222 92nd Street Byron Center, Michigan 49315

The sound of 'Poppin Johnnies' was heard across Lee Scholna's farm on July 18 and 19, 1997, as the Riverbend Steam and Gas Association held its 29th annual show there.

John Deere tractors and equipment were featured and we had a good turnout of the green machines. The West-shore Two Cylinder Club had their tent set up and many of their members brought tractors along. Bud Rosema had his 1936 AR on steel and a 1947 BR, both of which he restored. Sharon Schut brought along a 1928 D on steel, a model R diesel, and a 1947 model BO Lindeman. Sharon has a large John Deere tractor collection, each of them superbly restored. Dave Roclofs had his 1947 D, that he bought from fellow club member John Huitema, and had restored. My father and brother, Adrian and Peter Gilder, each took their own 'toys' along, a 1954 60 and a 1937 B, respectively. Cal Dyke's family also had several models there. It's great to see that our show can be a 'family affair.' Certainly many other members and exhibitors brought John Deere equipment and we appreciate them for coming.

Tractor pulls were held on Friday night and Saturday afternoon, and many pullers put their tractors to the test.

Photos by Rick Gilder.

Photos by Rick Gilder.

Equipment, demonstrations, and booths included two threshing machines, silo filler, sawmill, corn husking and shelling, flour milling, crafts and flea market, shingle mill, hammer mill, two Baker fans, and the club's most recent acquisition, a Port Huron Engine and Thresher Company edger, donated by club member Harold Richardson.

A rather unusual engine was hauled in by Del Vanden Bosch. It is a 1921 300 HP Buckeye S cylinder direct injection diesel. It was used as a backup power generator for Butterworth Hospital in downtown Grand Rapids during the 1920s, '30s, and '40s. He had it running on one cylinder at the show, and is waiting for parts to be made to complete the restoration. He hopes to eventually belt it to the sawmill.

Leland Shuck showed off his nice line shaft exhibit. It had seven engines (including an 11 HP four cylinder Hercules). Items belted up to the line shaft included a grindstone, corn Sheller, two water pumps, air compressor, ice crusher, and a drill press.

A freshly restored portable steamer, owned by Dale Sonke was also in action. It's a 6 HP Peerless that he acquired from Missouri. It was running the shingle mill, and many shingles were cut during the show. They could also be branded with the club's logo and taken home as a souvenir.

Our next show will be held on July 17 and 18, 1998. The 'thump-thump' of Oil Pulls should be heard and a field of Persian Orange should be seen as we will be featuring the Rumely and Allis-Chalmers line of tractors and equipment. It will be one of the finest exhibitions of Oil Pull tractors in southwestern Michigan, as several of them are expected to be there.

So, come on out and enjoy the machines, and don't forget to sample the delicious homemade ice cream and kettle popcorn!