Case Expo at Rough & Tumble

By Staff
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When this Case L lined up to run the threshing machine, it was observed by a large, appreciative audience.
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The tractor was big, but this young driver figured it was just the fit.
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Some venerable Cases formed this impressive line-up at Kinzers.
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Vern L. Neitzke brought his recently acquired Case VC, as well as his 1/3 scale model of a 1915 65 HP Case steam engine.
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Neil Heesacker parades a 1917 15-27 Cross motor Case owned by Tony Wells. Neil owns and has restored a 15-27 just like this one, back home in Oregon. Behind him is Tony driving his 1959 Case 900B Pulling Tractor.

Co-Chairman, Communications International J. I. Case Heritage
Foundation, Inc. 204 East Melbourne Ave. Silver Spring, Maryland,

An old adage says: ‘When it rains, it pours!’ At
Kinzers, PA on August 20-the final day of this year’s four-day
2nd Annual International J. I. Case Heritage Exposition, it did
rain and it poured. But, what happened couldn’t detract from
what was, for most of those who participated in this event, a
totally rewarding experience. And, remarkably, the crowds of people
kept coming in the rain. In fact, persons in the parking of cars
reported in amazement that as the parking fields grew soggy, people
were asking for tractor assistance to pull their cars INTO parking

‘They saw the mud, but that didn’t stop them,’ a
member of the show committee for the hosting Rough and Tumble
Engineers’ Historical Association reported. ‘I’ve never
seen anything like it.’

The first three days of the show brought out such great and
enthusiastic crowds from all over the continent and from as far
away as Australia that it was hard to believe so many dreams could
be coming true at one time. Literally thousands of people lined the
fence around the enclosure which serves as the outdoor stage for
Kinzers’ daily ‘Pageant of Threshing’ on Wednesday,
Thursday and Friday.

Then, on that rainy Saturday, in spite of the weather, people
came to Kinzers in droves and many of them obviously were
determined to enjoy themselves no matter what. The big closing day
parade, the ‘Pageant of Threshing’ and other outside,
unsheltered events had to be cancelled, but, under the Case Expo
Tent and in the many other exhibit structures on the grounds, the
crowds found protection from the weather and interesting things to
watch and talk about. At times when the rain slackened, they were
outside again, slogging through the puddles and the go to see as
much as they could see. And, there was plenty to see at this
year’s Expo.

For instance, there were 13 Case steam engines, including a rare
1887 10 HP portable exhibited by Richard Roy of Branchville, NY;
Willis Able’s magnificient 1912 110 from Finleyville, western
Pennsylvania; Carl Tuttle’s 1910 30 HP from Howell, MI; and
another distant traveler, a 75 HP Case brought from Southampton,
NY, by John Degen and Roy Dun-well. But those who might think this
big, international Case show was mostly steam, you have another
think coming. There were Case tractors in great abundance and

At least 38 Case gas tractors, some of them very rare birds,
indeed, were in the line-up. Otis Astle, past president of the
hosting Rough and Tumble Engineer’s Historical Association, a
member of the Case Heritage Foundation’s Board of Directors and
overall program director for the 1988 Reunion/Expo, certainly set a
good example by bringing his 20-40 and one of the several Model
L’s displayed at the Expo. He also brought an R Case, plus a
28-inch Case Threshing Machine. Ronald Rolfe checked in from
Schohare, NY, with a 1917 10-20 three-wheel, while Tony Wells’
line-up of several beautifully restored tractors was led by his
1917  15-27 and even included a magnificent 1959 900B pulling
tractor. Herb Wessel’s exhibits included a 1918  20-40 and
1929 25-45. Vern Neitzke and ‘Sara Sue’ (his mannekin
‘friend’ who always has the Expo crowds chuckling) brought
his recently acquired VC all the way from Grand Blanc, MI, and Bev
Hughes came from ‘north of the border’-Ilderton,
Ontario-with her newly restored RC.

Other Case tractors were exhibited by Titus Brubaker, III,
Brookville, FL, a 1927 22-40; Fred Esbenshade, Quarryville, PA a
1926 25-45; J. Clyde Burkholder, Mountville PA a 1921 10-18; David
H. Reed of Elk-ton, MD, a 1937 RC; Walter Z. Martin of Lititz, PA,
a CC; Charles R. Noonan of York, PA, who brought several excellent
exhibits (a 1930 L, 1950 S/orchard tractor and a 1952 D, plus a
scale model L with matching plow); Ben Reese of Quarryville, PA, a
1953 VAS 22 HP; Charles Brosius of West Grove, PA, with another
VAS; C. Everett Young of Kinzers with his recently acquired
SI/air-borne military tractor; Carl Simpson of Hockessin, DE, a
1950 SC with 1945 Case two-bottom plow; and A. K. Kissel of Newark,
DE, a DC restored by the Ag-Mechanics Student Program at Newark and
donated to the Rough and Tumble Museum.

Also, John Railing of Holtwood, PA, an LA tractor; Edward T.
Reese, Quarryville, PA, a Case grader; Mr. & Mrs. Merrill
Sheets who came all the way from Delaware, OH, with a 1935 RC Case
and a 1919 8-16 International, which was displayed in recognition
of Case’s current tie with IH; Roger Gerhart, a 1969 4WD
Traction King; Earl Mast of Parkesburg, PA, a 930 Case; Frank
Golembieski of Gettysburg, PA, a 1952 DC; Fulton Owens by of
Wilmington, DE, a 1953 GT 25 Terratrac Crawler; Horace Mendenhall
of Peach Bottom, PA, a 1938 CC; Roland Woodward of Kennett Square,
PA, 1938 CC; and Bill Dreisbach of Kennett Square, PA, an L.

Eight Case Cars were on hand for this year’s Expo. Among
them were three which had made the trip to the first Expo at
Kinzers-Tony Wells’ 1917 seven-passenger Touring Car; Tom and
Joan Unger’s 1912 40 ‘Doctor’s Special’ from
Lewisburg, Ohio (a gathering of Case Cars is never complete unless
the Ungers are on hand!); and Don Balthaser’s 1914 35 Touring
Car from nearby Sinking Spring, PA. The five newcomers to this
year’s Expo were Ronald Rolfe’s 1912 40 Touring Car which
was converted into a truck in 1917 (he drove it the 350 miles from
Schohare, Long Island, NY to Kinzers); Charles Hart-man’s 1912
four-door Touring Car from Elizabethtown, PA; Herb Wessel’s
recently acquired 1925 Suburban Coupe from Hampstead, MD; Stan and
Katy Sill’s rare (reportedly, only two in the world) 1924 Model
X Roadster brought from Rockford, Ohio, under sponsorship of the
Aeroquip Corporation; and Charles Johnson’s 1916 40 Model T, an
AACA Second Place National Winner from Alexandria, VA. For
thousands of Expo visitors, it was the first time they had ever
seen a Case Car, much less eight of them; and, as might be
expected, these cars added a special and important touch of
interest and beauty to the show.

As usual, the scale models were a constant source of enjoyment.
Russ Logan from Sunrise, Florida, and Vern Neitzke, Grand Blanc,
MI, traveled miles and miles around the show grounds aboard their
1/3-scales; and they had lots of company at this year’s show.
Stan Miner brought a 1/3-scale from Howell, MI, and Tom Wilfred of
Shady, NY, checked in with a ?-scale of the 65 HP Case. The Frank
Hillker family from Lakewood (near Denver) CO, brought a whole big
and beautiful model of a Canadian Farm to go with Frank’s
1′, 2′, 3′ and 4′-scale models of the 1922 65 HP
Case. Alex Zelanko of St. Catherine’s, Ontario, exhibited a
classic 1.5′-scale Case engine and matching thresher and Bob
Geiger of Geigertown, PA, had a beautiful 2′-scale 65 Case,
while James Latta of Hopewell, VA, brought a 1/3-scale that
operates on bottled gas.

There were a couple of dozen special exhibits, including the J.
I. Case ‘Groundhog’ thresher, brought by Harry Kline from
Racine, WI, who also exhibited two gigantic Case factory whistles.
Working with the engineers at the Rough and Tumble
Association’s stationary steam museum, Harry was all smiles
when the rare 12-inch Crosby Chime Whistle sounded off-it was a
spine-tingling event-that made this year’s daily noon whistle
at Kinzers nothing short of sensational.

As was the case at last year’s Expo, Foundation Director
George Hedtke’s magnificient, one-of-kind boiler from the
now-extinct Case 150 HP ‘Road Locomotive’ was a center of
attraction, sitting on high ground in the midst of the Expo’s
tractor display. Needless to say, George made the exhibit even more
of an attraction with his ‘live and in person’ discussions
of the early history of the J. I. Case line of machinery and
engines. Once wound up, George Hedtke is hard to beat as an
explainer of vintage Case.

John Davidson’s display of literature and photos, brought
all the way from Bristol, WI, attracted a high level of attention;
and so did fine materials presented by Everett Young of Kinzers and
Dennis Silva of Griswold, CT. Other special exhibits in the Case
Expo Tent included a piston and connecting rod display (25-45 Case
tractor) by Burgoyne J. Frank of Ellicott City, Md; a farm toy
display by David Brinckman of East Greenville, PA; a Case incline
photo display by Foundation Vice President Chady Atteberry of
Blackwell, OK, a photo display on Oklahoma Steam Engines by
Foundation Director Kenneth Kelley of Pawnee, OK; a mounted Case
jigsaw puzzle by William St. John of Lincoln University, PA; a
wooden replica of an 1881 Case Steamer Smoke box Door by Lester E.
Pierce of Stanberry, MO; and tools from Case machinery by John K.
Kreider of New Holland, PA. For the first time at this year’s
Expo, mini-seminars and videotape presentations on educational
age-heritage subjects were offered. Although some of the program
had to be curtailed because of problems with the gas generator
/-electrical system, the presentations that did go on were both
well-attended and well-received. Special thanks are due the
following Foundation members for their participation as lecturers:
George Hedtke (the 150 HP Case Road Locomotive and Other Legends),
Neil Heesacker and Tony Wells (Tractor Restoration), Joe Ertle of
Scale Models (Farm Toy History and Collecting), Everett Young
(Lancaster County and Pennsylvania Ag-Heritage), and Chady
Atteberry (The Case Steam Engine Incline).

On Saturday evening, the Foundation held its annual membership
meeting, a banquet attended by almost 200 persons. Tony Wells and
Kenneth Kelley were reelected to new four-year terms on the
Foundation’s 11-member Board of Directors; and Rick James,
Public Relations Manager for the J. I. Case Company presented
awards to exhibitors traveling the greatest distances to this
year’s Expo.

Following the banquet, the directors met and elected Thomas G.
Lee of Calhoun, KY, as Foundation President succeeding James Briden
of Fargo, ND, who had served as the organization’s charter
president and prior to that headed the steering committee which led
to the formation of the Foundation in the spring 1987. Jim Briden
continues to serve as a Foundation director. The board reelected
Chady Atteberry as vice president and Helen Case Brigham of Silver
Spring, MD, as secretary-treasurer. By the close of the 1988 Expo
at Kinzers, the Case Heritage Foundation had almost 1,500 voting
members. Major additions to the membership rolls occurred during
the Expo and at other shows where the Foundation was represented
this summer in the United States and Canada.

An unexpected participant at this year’s Expo was the Case
Eagle- ‘Abe, Himself’-up close and in full feather. He came
all the way from Manitoba, Canada, and was actually Foundation
member Bob McMillan from Miami, MB, costumed as an Eaglistic
version of Sesame Street’s ‘Big Bird.’ He was the hit
of the show and an hilarious addition to the fun at Friday
evening’s engine and tractor games. Since next year’s Case
Heritage Expo will be held at Austin, Manitoba, Bob McMillan surely
will be in fine feather for that show, too. He’s a member of
the Case Expo coordinating committee for the hosting Manitoba
Threshermen’s Reunion and Stampede.

The 1989 Case Expo will be held July 26-29 at the Manitoba
Agricultural Museum, located at Austin and only 80 miles west of
Winnipeg. The Manitoba Threshermen will be holding their 35th
Reunion in 1989 and already have a large resident collection of
Case engines, tractors and threshing machines at the museum.

Vern L. Neitzke brought his recently acquired Case VC, as well
as his 1/3 scale model of a 1915 65 HP Case steam engine, all the
way from Grand Blanc, MI. Driver in this picture is ‘Sarah
Sue’, a mannequin who travels with Vern. ‘She’s
pleasant company on long trips, because she never criticizes my

At a coordinating meeting held this summer, Jack Beamish,
Foundation director from Hamiota, Manitoba, projected that next
year’s event ‘will be the largest Case show ever held in
Canada.’ That estimate would seem to hold promise that the
Third Annual International J. I. Case Heritage Exposition at Austin
will definitely be a worthy sequel to 1987’s Expo #1 at Pawnee,
Oklahoma, and this year’s Expo #2 at Kinzers.

No doubt, Expo #3 at Austin, Manitoba, will be 1989’s
version of ‘The Greatest (Case) Show on Earth.’ Persons
interested in additional information about Case Heritage Foundation
Membership and the 1989 Expo should contact the Foundation’s
Secretary-Treasurer Helen Case Brigham at 204 East Melbourne
Avenue, Silver Spring, Maryland 20901, phone: (301) 587-5552.

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