2222 92nd St. S.W. Byron Center, Michigan 49315
The River bend Steam and Gas Association of Allendale, Michigan,
held its 27th show July 21, 22,1995, at the Lee Scholma farm.
Allendale is a small town located about 12 miles west of Grand
Rapids. We are a smaller show, but we have a friendly atmosphere
that makes the time spent here fun for the whole family.
Approximately 150 tractors were on display. Case was the
featured tractor this year. Although this area of Michigan is not
Case country, a good variety of Case tractors still appeared,
including an old cross mount Case.
A number of Oil Pulls are seen here every year. Al Rosema, our
club president, had his 16-30 here that he restored a few years
ago. He’s also working on a 20-30 that he hopes to have at next
year’s show. A longtime feature of the River bend show is his
1914 15-30 Oil Pull. This huge single cylinder tractor was used
near the Holland, Michigan, area for many years. It’s fun to
watch this machine in the tractor pull, with the engine going
thump, thump, thump, as it works its way down the track. Al also
brings along his 1918 wooden Rumely Ideal thresher every year.
Since it was new, this machine has been a companion to his 15-30
John Fennema brings three Rumelys of his own every year, a
15-25, a Rumely 6, and a 30-60 that his father purchased new around
1925. An elderly gentleman in my church remembers when it was
delivered on a railroad car to Cutler Ville, Michigan. He told me
he was ‘sick’ from school that day to go see it unloaded.
Railroad ties were used to drive it off.
John Huitema brought his 1926 16-30 Eagle tractor and also his
1940 British Field Marshall. This one cylinder diesel is started
with a shotgun shell. It’s also fun to watch in the tractor
pull, as it shakes and blows smoke rings out of that exhaust
Other brands represented this year include Farmall, John Deere,
Huber, Massey Harris, Ford & Fordson, Oliver,
Minneapolis-Moline, Allis-Chalmers, and McCormick-Deering. The West
Shore 2 cylinder club had their display of John Deere.
A special feature of this year’s show was the rare 1918 John
Deere All Wheel Drive, owned by Frank Hansen. This tractor drew a
lot of curious spectators who were interested in its history.
Four steam engines were shown also. Ninety-two year-old Herm
Walcott had his Case. His grandson, Russ Gelder, had his 1911 25 HP
Case that he assembled himself. It was originally a skid engine,
but he acquired some wheels and gearing from the Reynolds Museum in
Alberta and added them onto his engine to create a traction engine.
Charlie Ulrich had his 1915 Port Huron. He usually enters it in the
tractor pull. It’s really impressive to see how much raw power
these steamers have! On a smaller scale, Pete La Belle had his
small self-propelled, homemade steamer.
A good variety of belt-driven machines are in operation here
every year, which gives the tractors and steamers an opportunity to
get a workout. The spectators enjoy watching a tractor or steamer
belted up to any of the various machines on the showground. These
machines are designated to be run at certain times during the day,
so there is always something running.
Machines displayed include the shingle mill, owned by Sharon
Schut. It was manufactured in Grand Rapids, Michigan, by Perkins
& Company in the late 1800s. People love to pick up these
shingles and smell the fresh aroma of cedar. They can even have the
club’s logo branded on them. A Blizzard silo filler, owned by
Tom Rosema, is also seen in action as he feeds hay or corn stalks
into it. A New Idea corn husker, owned by Pete Eaton, spews out
shredded cornstalks and golden ears of corn. Norm Stiengaga’s
hammer mill hums along as the ears of corn are pulverized into
powder. The sawmill was constantly running both days, as there was
a big pile of logs waiting to be cut up. The Baker fan is available
for anyone to belt their tractor up to and give it a test.
The big crowd pleasers were the two threshing machines. Besides
Al Rosema’s Rumely Ideal, Lee Scholma had his 1930s-era
Huber. It makes a good companion for his Huber tractor. Lee bought
this thresher two years ago at an estate farm auction, just two
miles down my road. It had been stored unused in a barn for over 30
years, and was in good original condition. While the machines were
busy threshing the wagonloads of wheat, kids were seen playing in
the big pile of straw.
A number of gas engines were shown, and some of them were belted
up and running various pieces of equipment. Art Pater’s 1 HP
John Deere powered the old water pump. George Blair had a Jaeger
belted to a miniature oil derrick that actually pumped oil. I had
my 1 HP Fairbanks-Morse powering my corn Sheller. Kids love the
chance to throw a few ears of corn into it and watch the
A recent acquisition is the 40 HP Franklin valve less that was
donated to the club. It was originally used to run an electrical
generator for powering oil wells. We’ve had it running, but it
still needs to have some bugs worked out. Hopefully, we’ll have
them worked out by next year.
There are also draft horses here giving wagon rides to all the
kids. And the homemade ice cream is just terrific!
One spectator remarked to our club president that there are not
many places left anymore where he can take his family out for good
clean fun. He said our show fills that need, and he intends to come
back next year.
We would like to thank all the exhibitors who brought equipment
here this year. Some families brought in several tractors. All of
you helped make this past year’s show a big success! We hope to
see you here at our next show, July 19, 20, 1996, for some good
clean family entertainment!