20 Hilltop Lane, #212, Mankato, UN 56001
What started as a small threshing bee on the farm of Dave Preuhs, with neighbors helping, has turned into a tremendous, over 100 acre, three day event. The LeSueur County Pioneer Power Association Show is an annual event held each year, the last weekend of August. The show grounds are located six miles east of LeSueur, Minnesota. (Just 50 miles southwest of Minneapolis/St. Paul.) There are so many displays and demonstrations that the three day show is barely enough time to thoroughly enjoy everything.
This year the feature was handmade scale models. Exhibitors from 13 states displayed 325 working steam, gas, and hot-air engines along with various handmade farm building displays. Several to scale steam and gas tractors were on hand. Many vendors were there selling kits and various supplies. These small models are intricately made and very detailed. The builders put a great deal of time into making these scale models with turning lathes and small tools. There were models from size on down. There was everything from an operating miniature Stover gas engine on top of a matchbox (featured on our button) to a mini-train you could ride on, which is the beginning of the Pioneer Power Railroad. One display even had an engine that ran on ice cubes! A local group of people that fly radio-controlled airplanes also put on demonstrations at the show using 12 different planes. The buzzing sound of airplanes could be heard flying overhead.
Along with the feature, there was something for everyone at the show. Field activities included stack threshing, plowing with steam engines and tractors, the rock crusher, hand-fed threshing machine, and antique earth moving equipment. Two new buildings are going to be built on the show grounds. An elevating grader (mucker) and several other crawlers and dump wagons prepared the site for one of the buildings. Many other antique construction machines were also in operation.
For woodworking enthusiasts, there were demonstrations of the 1890 sawmill and veneer mill. The shingle and lathe mills promise to be back in operation for 1996. 'Ye Ol Wood Shop' also has some antique woodworking tools and demonstrations.
Gas engine alley is always a big hit. Some of the engines on display were doing jobs they performed years ago. These included pumping water, making flour, sawing wood and many more.
One of my favorite sights to see is the steam engines. It is fascinating how they operate, how well built they are and the work they can do. At the show there were demonstrations with the steam engines that included sawing lumber, plowing, and of course threshing. LSCPPA also has on display large stationary steam engines and a diesel engine. My father has his hands in running these. Sometimes he lets me control the throttle on the huge 54 ton, three cylinder McIntosh-Seymore Diesel engine.
The buildings include the following: Country Store where members donate items to be sold during the show; Pioneer Building where broom making and hand quilting are demonstrated; Fire Hall here local fire departments show off the trucks and equipment used years ago; Preuhs' Display Building where exhibitors display tools, hats, quilts, dishes, show souvenirs, and many other items; 1896 School House; 1859 Log Cabin; 1898 Creamery; Children's Barnyard; and Blacksmith Shop here there were many demonstrations to see and miniature horseshoes for sale. I have had the opportunity to try my hand at this art. My pounding skills leave something to be desired but I certainly had good teachers!
Horses are always a success at the show. You can find them doing chores of yesteryear. Some of those include well drilling, running a treadmill, providing power to a small hand fed thresher, skidding logs, grinding feed, and plowing. Some also are hitched up to hay racks to give show goers a tour of the grounds.
Other displays include rows and rows of antique tractors, cars, and trucks. There was a parade at 1:00 p.m. with 400 units registered for Saturday and Sunday. There are a lot of people who like to take their treasures through the parade. Many onlookers also enjoy that part of the day.
No one should go hungry at our show as there is plenty to eat. At the ever popular 'Thresher's Kitchen,' you can find homemade food and pies. Other organizations from around the area also put up food stands and sell wonderful things like corn dogs, hot beef, hamburgers, brauts, pork burgers, malts, and popcorn the list goes on!
Live music can be heard during the show as well. Bands from around the area provide us with non-stop country and old time music. It's fun to sit and listen to as you give your feet a rest.
Primitive camping is available on the show grounds. And for special needs people, we have parking and golf carts available. Exhibitors also get two free buttons and an exhibitor's plaque.
Our 1995 Pioneer Power Show proved to be very successful. Next year will be a 'double-feature' year. First, we will be hosting the Minnesota Chapter IH Collectors' Summer Convention. Second, we will also be hosting the 11th annual National Convention of the Historical Construction Equipment Association. The HCEA has 2500 members worldwide. So be sure to attend and see the largest gathering of operating antique construction equipment west of the Mississippi. As mentioned earlier, two new buildings are also going up. One for the men to keep their equipment in and the other for the ladies to display their items.
Mark your calendars now for August 23, 24, and 25,1996. Hope to see you at our 23 rd annual LeSueur County Pioneer Power Show. Stop by and say 'hi' to me in the tractor/parade registration booth.