President, LeCenter, Minnesota
The weatherman finally cooperated with the LeSueur County Pioneer Power Association (well almost) and gave us one of the best weekends in our existence, not only weather wise but as to the number of people attending. The attendance was three times that of previous years with people coming from at least 11 different states, all the way from Massachusetts to Washington.
The members and exhibitors were really keyed up for this year's show and they really put out an overall effort not only in exhibiting a record number of tractors and gas engines, but also in preparing the show grounds for the 3-day event. This was our second year at our new permanent show grounds and it looked like a picnic area with the tall bass-wood, hackberry and maple trees towering overhead providing plenty of shade for everyone. The freshly mowed grass provided a picturesque setting.
A welcomed addition this year was the new 40 x 130 foot display building and the ladies' auxiliary had it packed full of different and unusual displays of antique kitchen items, clocks, toys, paintings, tools, license plates, ladies country store, and demonstrations of spinning wool, quilting, and much more. In the off season the building will be used for storage. Another new building is the addition of the old Dressellville creamery built in 1897 and this will be used as a clubhouse and office at next year's show.
This also was a bigger year for us as far as entertainment goes. Just to mention some were organ music, old time bands, fiddle music, square dancing, and old time folk music provided by a 30-member male chorus. I'm sure there were many a tune whistled in gas engine alley.
There were many smoke rings rising through the trees of gas engine alley. There were 36 displays that totaled 188 engines, big and small, short and tall, from near and far, and room for more. They ranged in size from the small miniature models to a large 25 HP Fairbanks-Morse oil engine. Some were at work running grindstones, burr mills, flour mills, drag saws, vacuum pumps, air pumps and pump jacks. An extremely rare 4 HP Chase gas engine was exhibited for the first time by one of our members. Other uncommon engines exhibited were Demster, McVicker, Wilson-Des Moines, 14 HP hopper cooled Lauson, and several others. Other exhibits included cast iron seats, corn planter lids, tool and barb wire collections, rope making, motorbikes, and moon buggys.
A number of model gas engines were also exhibited and they were belted to miniature pump jacks and a generator. Everyone knows that it takes a lot of time, money, and patience to build these models and I'm sure the exhibitors received many fine comments for their labors.
When the final tally was in, the tractor lineup numbered 95 to the surprise of everyone, up nearly 30 units from last year. New tractors exhibited this year included such brand names as Fordson, Twin City, Samson, J. D. Lindeman crawler, Titan, Hart-Parr, Huber, Case cross-motor, WK-40 and I-12 Internationals, Wallis, plus several McCormick Deerings, John Deeres, and others. I am sure next year the list will number over 100.
Along with the large 28 HP Minneapolis steam engine, several scale model Case steamers were on hand and actually operated model machinery such as sawmill, cord wood saw, threshing machine, and bakers fan. A -scale Advance was also on hand and proved to be a real work-horse.
The field demonstrations included stack threshing using a 1913 36 x 60 Nichols & Shepard wood separator with wing feeders, usually belted to the 28 HP Minneapolis steamer; although the 35-70 Minneapolis tractor and a 20-40 Oil Pull also had their turn at twisting its tail. Other threshing machines seen in action were a 28 inch Belle City, a 22 inch Red River Special, and a 22 inch McCormick Deering. Also demonstrating was a 100-year-old hand feed separator, corn shredding, stationary baling, silage cutting, plowing using a John Deere 8-bottom plow pulled by the 28 HP Minneapolis steamer and a 28-50 Hart Parr even made two rounds (with it in the ground), bakers fan. New this year was a belt driven dynamometer which told the very interesting show piece. Wood working items included the sawmill, shingle and lathe mill, wood splitting and cutting. Feed was ground not only by engine power but by horse power using a Stover horse powered grinder which was new this year and a real crowd pleaser. The horse men also demonstrated plowing along with the pulling of several hayracks which delighted both the young and old alike to 'hitch a ride.'
Several contests were held. One was a cross-cut log sawing contest with both a mens and ladies class; a frying pan throwing contest for the ladies. Many a spectator scrambled as several ladies left loose with a good 'ol southern Minnesota 'hook throw' and then, on the other hand, several must have had practice at home throwing at something or someone long before the contest, as they left loose with a straight and narrow throw right on target.
Another contest was a tractor pull among the members. No official measurements or anything but just for the fun of it. Next year we hope to plan an antique tractor pull and have it on a separate weekend.
Our blacksmith was busy pounding out miniature horseshoes and square nails. The blacksmith shop is nestled between several large maple trees on the edge of a small clearing next to gas engine alley and makes a very picturesque scene.
Our antique car committee did a fine job in rounding up 47 antique autos, from a brass model T Ford to the Edsel era plus several specialty cars and trucks. Our Grand Marshals and Outstanding Member had the honor of each riding in a convertible supplied by the car committee. Our Grand Marshals were Ervin and Ethel Dahn and our Outstanding Member was Orbe Reddemann who spends many hours at the grounds throughout the year doing various jobs that might not otherwise get done.
Several new items have already been lined up for next year's show: a 20 HP Minneapolis steamer; 15-30 (single cylinder); 16-30; and 40-60 Rumelys; 25-50 Avery; Heider; the operation of an 8-roll Maytag corn shredder; horsepower stationary baler, and I'm sure several other items of interest to everyone.
We are thankful for the many fine exhibitors who attended our show and we will be looking forward to seeing them all next year. To show our gratitude, we will be sending all exhibitors a brass exhibitor's plaque, a policy we hope to continue.
Hope to see all you good folks again in 1981 on the weekend before Labor Day.