You gotta go to Baraboo

| October 2008

It's funny how you can live somewhere for a decent amount of time and still miss out on so much. I realized this in mid-August while driving through southwestern Wisconsin.

It was the weekend before the Tri-State Gas Engine and Tractor Assn. show in Portland, Ind., and I was on my way to visit my parents in Milwaukee. I'd heard there was a pretty good gas engine show to check out in Baraboo, so I planned a route from Kansas that allowed me to spend the day there on Friday. Man, was I glad I did.

For those of you who have been to Wisconsin, but have never driven through the south-west part of the state, that's reason enough to make the trip to Baraboo. The rolling hills and beautiful vistas reminded me of my drive from Pittsburgh to Coolspring, Pa., this past June, and I wish I had taken more trips to the area when I lived just 2-1/2 hours away in Milwaukee. And then, of course, there's the show.

The folks at the Badger Steam and Gas Engine Club really know how to put on a fantastic threeday show. Aside from the beautiful show grounds, which provide plenty of shade and space for over 400 gas engines, there are numerous attractions to check out. They include two large buildings of gas engines and stationary steam engines on permanent display, as well as a blacksmith shop, woodworking shop and machine shop, all of which were up and running during the weekend. A brand new attraction is the Fuller & Johnson building, which was built with donations and volunteer labor in the two months before this year's show. Built as a replica of a Fuller & Johnson dealership, it's loaded with memorabilia from Fuller & Johnson expert Verne W. Kindschi's collection, and plans are in the works to expand the building into a museum that would house several Fuller & Johnson engines.

While I spent most of my time in the gas engine area, the show also attracts a good number of steam engines and tractors, making it a well-rounded farm show that everyone will enjoy. Of course, you'll find that out for yourself at the 46th annual show next August.

Christian Williams
Associate Editor