Menno Pioneer Power Show

By Staff

Rt. 1, Box 21 Winnetoon, Nebraska 68789

On September 26, I loaded up my Rock Island gas engine, grinder,
and air machine (homemade) and headed for Menno, South Dakota. I
crossed the new 12.4 million dollar bridge that crosses the
Missouri River, and is 2,953 feet long, a cement masterpiece, but
it doesn’t go anywhere!

However, it saved me a bunch of miles, as I would have had to go
a considerable distance farther if it weren’t for this bridge.
The show I arrived at was the 12th annual Steam Gas and Toy Show at
Menno, South Dakota. Special features this year were the Hart-Parr
and Oliver tractors and Stickney gas engines. Boy, those Stickneys
stand out blue and more blue, 1? HP, 3 HP, 5 HP, 7 HP, and a big 10
HP. Most of these engines had steel running gears. A lot of other
fine engines were well displayed, but no John Deeres, which is very
unusual.

A very rare 5 HP Semm gas engine manufactured right here in
South Dakota, at Mitchell, seems to be the only one in running
condition. And next to me was a man with a ‘Woodwasher’
washing machine made in Newton, Iowa, by a man who had broken away
from Maytag and started his own plant. This machine was in
excellent shape. On the sawmill was a 36 HP 1911 Case stationery
steam engine without wheels, and that does look different.

Remember, South Dakota was a big wheat-growing state for years,
with lots of threshing. I remember trains loaded with wheat coming
down from Winner, South Dakota, coming into Nebraska on their way
to the mills. They had lots of trouble coming off the Verdigre
bottom trying to get up the valley to Winnetoon, Nebraska. The
grade was so steep and once in a while the steam engine would spin
out, and then it was back down and unhook some cars. There were
several fine wood threshing machines, an Avery 36-inch, also
several metal machines. Alongside these was a very fine eight
bottom John Deere plow with a lever for each share, also a
Worthington five-cylinder, four-cycle diesel-which starts with
compressed air. This engine is so big they pull the building over
the engine.

There was a big giant sitting out there, a 120 HP Avery steam
engine tractor, built in 1912 that weighs 24 tons. It had been used
by Ringling Bros to break ground in Montana to grow alfalfa hay for
their circus animals. They could bale this alfalfa and send it on
to where they needed it. This tractor was a puller. It pulled 14-16
bottoms on virgin sod. That was a load. It is so big it scares
you!

The featured tractor was a Hart Parr Old Reliable 30-60 HP. It
ran good the first day and was in the parade, but the next day it
started acting up. If you have ever seen a big tractor start
missing, etc it is some sight and sound! Everybody gathers around,
and maybe if you’re smart you go off and leave it, and come
back later, so it isn’t so embarrassing.

I want to talk about the grounds and buildings on the grounds.
It lies right against Menno easy access and close to town. It was
an old farm. It had a very big barn which was converted into
display and eating space.

The big hay mow with direct access from outside, with no ladder
to climb, makes it easy for handicapped and older persons. Right
inside the door was a rare Rumely cream separator. That one got me,
but every show has a few of these items. The hay mow was a display
area for toys, etc.

They had an old red schoolhouse, depot, log cabin, and a fine
old church upon a hill which you get to by crossing a small dry
creek by an old Pin-Trust steel bridge. They were very popular
years ago, and this particular bridge is braced differently than
most bridges. It was donated by the South Dakota road
department.

In the Thirties, we had lots of grasshoppers in the Midwest.
Here they have an old machine that mixes hopper bait, banana oil,
bran and poison and runs with an electric motor. I still have a few
gunny-sacks that the bait was put in.

There was a gentleman who had a stone-grinder. The stones were
perpendicular and he used it to grind wheat for flour. It was a
stationary stone and another rotating, doing a very fine job,
powered by a Fairbanks-Morse. The grinder was homemade.

On the first evening they served the exhibitors a very fine
meal. Those ladies in South Dakota know how to cook. The next
morning there were pancakes and sausages. They weren’t bad, and
these were served by men at the stove.

So, it looks like next year we will head across Missouri River
and take part in one of the fastest growing shows in the Tri-State
area.

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