3208A 9th Avenue North, Great Falls, Montana 59401
The Teton Antique Steam and Gas Threshing Association held its 5th annual threshing bee and show at the Ove Larson farm northeast of Choteau, Montana, on September 10 and 11, 1988. Uncooperative weather held attendance down, but those present thoroughly enjoyed them selves and the activities which took place.
Both days began with a sourdough pancake breakfast hosted by members Gordon and Paula Larson and prepared and served by various members of the association.
Following breakfast, the show was on. A cold biting northwest wind and intermittent showers failed to dampen spirits in light of the extended drought which had plagued north central Montana this past year.
Association member Carl Mehmke of Great Falls, MT was present with two extremely rare tractors from his collection . One was his 1916 18-30 Square Turn, one of only two Square Turn tractors known to exist. The other was a 1917 10-20 Russell. Both units sported fresh paint jobs and putted briskly around the show grounds.
Bill Baughmann of Cut Bank, MT again brought three units to the show: a 1917 Waterloo Boy R, a 1919 16-30 Rumely Oil Pull, and his favorite, a 1938 one-cylinder diesel Field Mar shall. This unique tractor is started by firing a charge much like a shotgun shell. I had the opportunity to drive it at another show this year and can honestly say that it's a neat little unit.
Host Ove Larson had both of his 60 HP Case steam engines fired up. The 1912 was belted to his sawmill where several members kept busy creating planks and timbers which will be used to construct new buildings at the Association's new show grounds in Choteau. The 1910 engine powered a separator for threshing demonstrations. Both were ably handled by engineers Ove Larson, Clyde Corley, Charles Spivak and Dave Vanek, who at age 22 is the youngest licensed engineer in the state of Montana.
For many, the highlight of the show was starting the 150 HP two cylinder Fairbanks-Morse/Continental Diesel given to the association in 1987. This engine came from the oil fields near Mosby, MT and was restored by several members. Special credit goes to member Ed Sever and his son Duane who is an accomplished machinist. Duane painstakingly manufactured new piston rings as we have been unable to locate 14 inch rings any where. The engine was originally started with a charge of compressed air. Lacking this capability at present, Ed belts his Super WD9 McCormick Deering to the engine's flywheel and spins it over. Due to its size, preheating the glow plugs is a must; even then it usually takes between 30 and 45 minutes to get the engine running.
Several members of the Treasure State Flywheelers from Great Falls were in attendance with some of their one lungers. One 'Flywheeler', Bud Witte, is a distant relative of the founder of the Witte Engine Works. Bud proudly displays his two Witte engines along with his 'guard buzzards'.
Although north central Montana is primarily wheat and barley country, there was an abundance of row crop tractors on display, including John Deere A's and B's, a couple of F20 Farmalls, a WD 45 Allis Chalmers, and three RC Cases, two 1938's and a 1939 (styled). This writer had never seen an RC until he first attended the Teton show in 1985. Now he is the proud owner of a 1938 RC with a small loader.
Wheatland units were also in evidence as befitting wheat country. Among those on display were John Deere D's and an R; IHC 10-20, 15-30, 22-36, and WK40; Case L and LA; and a Twin City.
Three crawlers were on display, although the Lindeman and the Cat 22 owned by member Bob Faclam refused to start. The IHC TD-40 of Herb Tangen's provided yeoman ser vice on Sunday morning as about 3 inches of snow preceded by rain turned the grounds into a quagmire. The TD-40 was pressed into service to extricate the vehicles of several departing exhibitors. Due to the messy grounds, outside activities were cancelled and members put away those items that had to be secured immediately and then adjourned to Ove's machine shed for the annual church service presided over by Rae Ginther.
New to the show in 1988 was the 'Teton Tots Tractor Tug'. This event for children featured a pulling sled made by member Greg Alzheimer and four pedal tractors loaned by various members. All participants received ribbons.
The Association is already preparing for the 1989 show which will be held at the new show site, a plot of land on the southeast edge of Choteau, the weekend of September 9-10. Members have recently fenced the grounds and are beginning to plot where different activities will take place. Future plans include restoration of a 100 HP Corliss Steam Engine obtained from the old Great Falls Brewery and moving and restoring the old Great Northern RR depot from Choteau. For further information, contact Association President Rick Corey, Box 7020, Dutton, MT, (406) 466-5409, or Ove Larson, Rt. 2, Box 6890, Dutton, MT (406) 466-2609.