LeSueur County Pioneer Power Association:

By Staff
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The 45-65 Avery appeared for the first time at the 1976 Dresselville/Tyrone Thresher Show held on the Preuhs farm located 7 miles east of LeSueur. Here the Avery is powering a 36 x 60 steel Nichols & Shepard Red River Special thresher.
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In 1997 the LSCPPA of LeSueur hosted the national MM collector summer convention. Here is a partial view of the over 450 tractors on display. In the background can be seen several large exhibit buildings.

The LeSueur County Pioneer Power Association will celebrate its
25th anniversary at its show on August 28-30, 1998. The Pioneer
Power Association began as the boyhood dream of Dave Preuhs. In
August of 1974, Dave Preuhs hosted a neighborhood threshing bee on
his farm in Tyrone township in LeSueur County, Minnesota. The
public was invited and refreshments were served. Exhibits at this
threshing bee included a 1926 John Deere D, 1927 John Deere D, and
a 1929 model AA Ford truck.

Field demonstrations at the threshing bee were limited to
operation of a Nichols and Shepard 28 x 46 Red River Special
thresher. Nonetheless, it was this field demonstration that
captured the imagination of the thirty people from the immediate
neighborhood who were in attendance at the threshing bee, and so
started the LeSueur County Pioneer Power Show.

The neighbors who had attended the 1974 event all agreed that
the threshing bee should be repeated the next year in 1975.
Consequently, the 1975 bee was held on the neighboring Edwin
Reddemann farm. This time, the threshing bee was advertised in
local newspapers and by means of Xeroxed leaflets. In preparation
for the 1975 threshing bee, some of the neighbors built a grain
stack from bundles of oats. In recent memory, this was the first
year that grain was threshed from a stack. The 40-60 persons in
attendance were treated to the threshing demonstration along with a
small exhibit of several antique tractors and a few stationary gas
engines.

Adopting the name ‘Dresselville-Tyrone Threshers’ for
the first time, the 1976 threshing bee was moved back to the Preuhs
farm located on the southern boundary of Tyrone township.

Dresselville was the name of an old community located southwest
of the Preuhs farm. Although Dresselville was largely a memory by
1976, the unincorporated village had at one time consisted of a
school, church, post office, and creamery. The 1976
Dresselville-Tyrone Threshing Bee was advertised by means of a
limited number of posters which were circulated locally. About 100
people attended the August 8,1976 threshing bee. The crowd was
treated to the first appearance of the 45-65 Avery tractor owned by
the Budenski Brothers of West Concord, Minnesota. The Budenski
Brothers also brought along their eight bottom John Deere, platform
plow. The 1976 show saw the first appearance of corn shredding and
plowing as field demonstrations. In addition, Orbe Reddemann of
rural LeCenter operated his Ottawa crosscut log saw for the first
time. In all, 15 tractors, 20 stationary gas engines, and four
antique cars and trucks were exhibited. A donation box was used to
collect contributions from those in attendance.

Finally, on March 1,1977, seventeen neighbors interested in the
Dresselville/Tyrone Threshing Bee met in the farm shop on the Eldon
Brown farm, and decided to incorporate into a nonprofit
association. Upon the suggestion of Ivan Guertin, that association
was named the ‘The LeSueur County Pioneer Power
Association.’ It was thought that the new name would enlarge
the appeal of the association beyond the immediate
Dresselville/Tyrone area to all of LeSueur County. Little did the
founders realize the association would soon have national appeal.
At the founding meeting of the association, Dave Preuhs was elected
president; Elden Braun, vice president; Ivan Guertin, secretary;
and Bill Thelemann, treasurer. Also elected as members of the board
were Frank Boehne, Ken Braun, John Pollack, Brian Guertin , Glen
Braun, and Wayne Schwartz. The last full weekend in August was
picked for the permanent show date.

The 1977 and 1978 shows were still held at the Preuhs farm. The
show was now being advertised in several antique tractor and gas
engine magazines. Membership grew at a steady rate and along with
new members came a variety of new exhibits and the show began to
grow in size. On the last Sunday in April, 1978 the LSCPPA held its
first swap meet on the grounds of the Le-Sueur County Fair, in
LeCenter, Minnesota.

With the tremendous growth, it was clear that the show had
outgrown the Preuhs farm. Accordingly, a 20 year lease agreement
was made with Erwin Dahn, a local farmer, to rent his large wooded
grove about two miles south of the Preuhs farm as the new permanent
site for the show. In preparation for the 1979 show, members
cleared brush, leveled stump piles, and constructed loading docks
near the main entrance to the new grounds. Additionally, a building
was constructed on the grounds by members with Orbe Reddemann
acting as chief engineer. This building became known as ‘Orbes
Eat Shack,’ serving food to the people beginning with the 1979
show. Another building was erected in December of 1979. The
dimensions of this building are 40 x 120 feet. It became the first
of a number of buildings to be erected on the new grounds to be
used for storage in the off-season, and then used for exhibits
during the show.

During the 1980s Pioneer Power grew in all areas, including
members, exhibitors, and of expanding and improving the
showgrounds. Many buildings were built or moved in, such as
Dresselville Creamery, food service, blacksmith shop, horse barns,
log cabin, children’s barnyard, miniature land, and other
various display and exhibit buildings. An 1890 sawmill was restored
and erected on the grounds in 1982 with a new building over it for
the 1983 show. Several large stationary steam engines have been
moved to the grounds and installed in the steam building (most
engines were installed first and then a roof put over them), with
the first one up and running for the 1986 show. The Minnesota State
horse plowing contest was held at the grounds in September of
1988.

The Swap Meet was growing steadily during this period of time
also, in fact, it grew to the point that the fairgrounds in
LeCenter was getting overcrowded. So, in 1991, the Swap Meet was
held at the LSCPPA showgrounds for the first time. In 1997 the Swap
Meet hosted over 700 vendors and has become one of the biggest, if
not the largest meet of its kind in the U.S.

During the late 1980s and early 1990s tractor shows started
featuring a certain brand of tractor at their annual summer show.
This period of time saw the birth of several national one brand
tractor clubs, such as the J.I. Case Collectors, M-M Collectors,
etc. In 1991 the LSCPPA hosted the J.I. Case collectors summer
collection. Since that first feature the list of features are as
follows: 1992 Tractor Hall of Fame-all tractors; 1993 Central
Minnesota Two Cylinder Club-John Deere; 1994 ‘Gathering of the
Orange’ (West) A-C collectors; 1995 Scale models and
Miniatureland; 1996 double feature year, Historical Construction
Equipment Association and Minnesota State IHC Collectors; 1997 M-M
Collectors Club, upcoming features include for 1999 the National
Ford/Fordson Collectors; and for 2000 the International
Hart-Parr/Oliver Collectors Association.

1998 will be a special celebration with displays and exhibits
set up from the 1974 show up through 1998 in a year-by-year
display. Also, a reenactment of the first threshing bee will be
staged, using the same machines and people who were there in 1974.
Another special treat for the 1998 show will be a superb display of
Packard cars hosted by the Minnesota Packard Car Club; and on those
same lines, the Hiawathaland Chapter of A.T.H.S. will show off
their collection of antique trucks.

Pioneer Power now includes 103 acres of club-owned property with
a deep well and water system, electricity, phone and over 25
buildings used for display purposes, or for administration or food
service.

Pioneer Power started out with the one threshing event and
continues to be a working show, whether it be threshing, (at times
up to four machines are working at once), or all the other field
events such as plowing, shredding, cutting corn, etc., or too, the
sawmill and woodworking events like the lathe and shingle mills or
veneer mill.

All attractions at the show are intended to hold the interest of
the people coming through the gate. Pioneer Power is grateful for
people attending the show and also thankful for the exhibitors who
help make the show possible. All exhibits receive free admission
and plaques.

Pioneer Power continues to be a viable and healthy organization.
All proceeds go directly back into the show for maintenance of the
grounds and to establish new projects to help educate people on the
history of agriculture and small-town commerce. Five hundred
members, from all walks of life, belong to Pioneer Power, and with
their efforts as much progress can be made in the next 25 years as
in the past 25 years.

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