Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association Meet in Oregon

By Staff
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Half of the show grounds taken from top of windmill the day before the Meet started.
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Replica of early day Fairbanks Morse Dealership by Mike and Paul Schlag of Salem, Oregon.
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20 HP Witte with 50 HP Foos in background. Paul and Alan Schurman, Ridgefield, Washington.

2935 Cooley Drive, Salem, Oregon 97303

On 30 July 1976 Antique Powerland, Brooks, Oregon was invaded by hordes of chuggers, Branch #15 EDGE&TA hosted the national meet for 1976. Friday was the first day of the meet with everyone getting set up. There was a Chugger set up making homemade ice cream. Mike Schlag has his Fairbanks-Morse replica dealership set up with many different engines on display. Harvey Hilands had grandma’s back porch in operation with a light plant with batteries, washing machine, lamps and an old water heater and wash tub.

Engines ranged in size from Alan Schurman’s 50 HP FOOS down to Mike Schlag’s ? HP Associated. The largest engine on the grounds was Ed Morse’s 80 HP Fairbanks-Morse.

Friday night Branch #15 had a show with Harvey Hilands showing slides of last years National Meet and Gas-Up at Galt, Ca. Refreshments were served and a good time was had by all.

Saturday morning ‘Daylight, Hey it is time to get up, – I hear a chugger running.’ We crawl out of the sack and look outside ‘It’s still dark,’ but we still hear that chugger running. Must be Louis Chapo, Br. #13 doing his washing. We ask him where the owner of that 3 uddered bra is, no response, just a chuckle.

Saturday is a busy day. The flour mill is going strong making stone ground flour and cornmeal. The sawmill is cutting out the 2X’s. The threshing was going on all day as was the hay press and the steam powered well drill. In the middle of the afternoon we came to our senses and counted the equipment on the grounds. There were 18 Steamers, ranging in size from a 75 HP Case down to a 6 HP Russell. There were 63 gas tractors of all sizes and descriptions and 503 chuggers, yes that is right, 503 of those beautifully restored engines! Truly an iron collectors paradise. I will mention a few but space won’t let me do them all. Cliff Hardy had his Frisco Standard, The Bottimores Union, Ed Stowe’s garden tractor collection, Don Hendrickson’s Blackstone, Clyde Schurman’s Advance, Paul Schurman’s 20 HP Witte, John McWilliam’s Samson, Les Layton and Jack Versteeg’s 25 HP Fairbanks-Morse (The Wishram Engine.)

Branch #15 had a swap space set up and there was more iron moving in and out than at a junk dealer. An example was Dave Kestler went home with a couple of projects in the form of a steam tractor and a 5 HP Stickney.

Saturday night everyone went into Salem to the Kopper Kitchen North for a wonderful buffett dinner followed by the National Meeting. New officers were elected with Louis Chapo Br. #13, President, Jack Versteeg Br. #15, Vice-president, Harvey Hilands Br. #15, Sec.-Treas. and G. W. Grimsley the new director at large east of Mississippi. 194 were in attendance and a good time was had by all.

Sunday morning, ‘Daylight, time to get up, don’t want to miss anything.’ Outside we go, where’s everybody? We look around and see no one except Ron Burr’s, standing right in the middle of all those engines with a look in his eyes of how could I get all this iron into my garage. I wake him out of his dream, sorry about that.

Everything gets started slow in as much as this is Sunday and the meet is just about over. In the afternoon everyone starts to load up and say goodbye. My how time flies when we’re having fun. Oh well, we have our pictures and memories to comfort us on those dark raining nights.

P.S.: Branch #15 conducted a tour on Friday to McMinnville, Oregon and viewed a 1500 HP Busch Seltzer 6 cyl. engine. This engine was used for years and is still maintained on standby. The group had a chance to view this engine from start-up to shut down. Our many thanks to the crew in the power house and to Dwight Smith, Portland, Oregon for making this tour possible.

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