24820 141st Avenue Rogers, Minnesota 55374
Elk River Engine Dayin one word: SUPER! Sunday, July 19, 1981, the day was born and what a day it was for the first successful show! It was special and due to many including Mike Kroeger, Bonny Johnson, Ed Driesel and the entire staff of the Elk River Nursing Home.
Now you may ask how a nursing home could get involved with a bunch of engine nuts?? Once I talked to a few members of the Anoka Engine Club and organized a few members to display their chiggers at a small nursing home in Monticello where my grandmother lived. The people in the home enjoyed every minute of it! While I was attending my engines, Mike Kroeger approached me. He is Vice President of the Board of Trustees and I guess he liked what he saw for he asked me if I would help to put on a show on the grounds. He said he had over five acres we could use.
Now, my feelings are that the senior citizens at these homes are usually not able to get to enough of these shows and remembering how happy it had made the people of Monticello, I said 'You bet, let's have a show!'
After some months of planning, the big weekend was here. My parents and I pulled our trailer to the grounds Saturday afternoon to start readying the area for the show. There was much to do and special thanks to my crew who worked very hard in beastly hot weather. Those folks included my parents, Bob and Mary Bartheld, Don Dehn, Tom Killeen and Dyron Howell.
Soon many engine friends from out-of-state came pulling in with their RVs and trailers. Meanwhile Bill Eimers and his family set up the flea market area.
By evening it looked like a little village with engine people and flea marketers 'camps' set up. Already we had a few tractors and 'Butch' Soukop's big 35 HP Superior gas engine ready to go plus many small engines. A few of the curious residents ventured out in the evening to see what was going on and to say they were happy would be an understatement!
July 19 dawned just as clear as a bell. It was the start of what was going to be a fantastic day. The Anoka Engine Club boys were coming in droves with equipment. The tractor line-up was getting longer by the hour. We even had a threshing machine. When the gates opened at noon, we had over 150 gas engines, about 50 tractors and countless antique cars and trucks. The home furnished us with a most delicious meal at noon. Then it was back to the work at hand having an engine show!
Some of the displays included: a wood turning lathe run by Boyd Baily of Maple Plane; a log sawing demo by George Benson of Rogers; and engines: the engine man roster included Bob and Jeff Bartheld, Rogers; John Goldsmith, Amery, Wisconsin; George Wilson, Jr., Eau Clair, Wisconsin; George Wilson, Sr., Rice Lake; Gondy Nelson, Chicago City; Ken Dawson, St. Paul; 'Butch' Soukop, Cambridge; Henry Soukop, Rogers; Bob and Leroy Pound stone, Wyoming, Minnesota; plus all the other members of the Anoka Club and other private collectors. Pat yourselves on the back everybody you really deserve it. But I must say a special thanks to the Dehn family without whom we would not have had any steam at the show.
We had a parade at 2 o'clock and a prize drawing after with all proceeds going to the senior citizens' piano fund.
The day was great! The seniors had a ball and I heard many interesting stories from the residents who say you can learn something new everyday.