1990 Thresherman’s Reunion

By Staff

661 19 Street Brandon, Manitoba, Canada R7B 1K

The sun shone, the clouds and wind were gentle, helping to
provide perfect weather for the four day event. Huge crowds took
advantage of this festive occasion to roam the grounds, examine
exhibits and watch the parade of antique equipment each day.

Over five thousand people, ranging from antique equipment buffs
through the mildly curious, from centenarians who had cut their
teeth on equipment of this genre to babes in carriages, thronged
the grounds daily to reminisce and to see implements at work that,
once common, can now only be seen here. Seven hundred dedicated
volunteers greased bearings, stoked fire boxes and kept hundreds of
pieces of antique equipment running like new.

The highlight of each day’s activities was the Grand Parade
past the grandstand. Leading off were the ponies and draft horses,
the brightest star of this section being a hitch of six matched
white mules pulling a fully restored 1880’s stage coach. The
parade followed in roughly chronological order; following the
horses were the steam tractors with old threshing machines, huge
gas tractors from the early 1900’s, antique cars and trucks
and, bringing up the rear, a monster eight wheel drive, 600 HP
Versatile tractor.

The steam tractors made their usual great impression on the
packed grandstand. Each spoke with a clear shrill voice as it
passed the stand, and received a spontaneous ovation from the
enthusiastic crowd. The most glamorous unit was the big old Case
110, with its power steering and enormous size. Other steamers
included other models of Case, George White, Rumely, Sawyer Massey,
Cock of the North and numerous others. The George White steamer was
manufactured in Brandon, Manitoba, only 50 miles from the site of
the museum.

The gas and oil tractors pulled their share of attention. There
were huge tractors from the early 1900’s; an English Marshall,
probably the largest, dwarfed some of the others. There were Hart
Parr, Rumely Oil Pull, Case, Moguls, Titan, Waterloo Boy, Happy
Farmer, Grey, Wallis, Eagle and almost any other make you can
name.

Several old cars and trucks brought up the end of the parade. A
1929 IHC one ton truck in showroom condition and a 1917 Model T
Ford touring car drew the majority of the attention.

Ongoing displays included stationary engines, some dating back
to 1907. Several were in running order, and others were repaired on
site and made to run while the show was in progress. The shop on
the grounds was made available to the volunteers, who made good use
of it. Some of the engines included early IHCs from one to 20
horsepower, Fairbanks Morse units up to 10 horse, Judson, Economy,
Waterloo, John Deere, and many others.

We enjoyed running these old workhorses that we worked so hard
to restore. An early 1920’s Fairbanks Morse 1? HP hit and miss,
with dishpan flywheels, was belted to an open geared pump jack and
an ancient pump. A 20 horse IHC hit and miss engine spoke with
authority as it ran easily after Doug Pigg and I made final
adjustments. The 10 horse Fairbanks Morse with one flywheel and
huge bull gear for its pump jack stood in the corner silently. When
Jim Lundlaid and I cleaned the ignitor and primed it, it came to
life and fired evenly with a loud report as it had no muffler.

There is a huge 185 horsepower stationary steam engine with a 14
foot flywheel running in a separate display. This engine powered
the flour mill at Souris, Manitoba from 1899 to 1928 and, during
the Reunion, runs an old flour mill daily. Several other stationary
steam engines run daily powered from a single boiler.

A great crowd pleaser is the miniature display. These miniature
engines attest to the skill, patience, precision and craftsmanship
of the enthusiasts who built them. They never tire of answering
questions and demonstrating their toys. The pint sized engines,
both gas and steam, were great attention grabbers as they ran their
miniature saw mills, threshing machines, pumps and other
implements.

After four event-filled days, I still had only scratched the
surface of the numerous displays. A new 30 x 50 building houses the
Manitoba Amateur Radio Museum with its host of old radios,
transceivers, vacuum tubes, etc. An old townsite has been created
at the museum, building by building from many different places,
displaying a variety of lifestyles of the pioneers. The Reunion
attracts visitors from all across Canada, throughout the United
States and from overseas. I even met one visitor from
Australia.

The Manitoba Agricultural Museum is located two miles south of
the Trans-Canada Highway, 75 miles west of Winnipeg, Manitoba at
Austin. The Thresherman’s Reunion will take place this year on
July 24 to 27, 1991 and will feature the Ford family of fine cars
and trucks. You can be sure that this little town, 50 miles west of
Brandon, will come alive to the throngs of happy people in the
holiday spirit. There are plenty of good camping facilities within
a short driving distance.

As the late Ed Sullivan may have put it-‘It will be a really
big shoooo.’

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