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
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
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