The Best Shows are the Small Shows

| November/December 1984

Route 2, Box 127, Kewaunee, Wisconsin 54216

It seems that most tractor show buffs prefer the friendly and relaxed atmosphere at the small shows to the advantages of more numerous exhibits at the big ones. A case in point is the show held July 8, 1984 at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Wencel Vlasak on highway 163 in northern Manitowoc County, Wisconsin. Mr. Vlasak has been a gas engine and tractor collector for about twenty years and, together with his daughter and son-in-law, Linda and Pete Patek, have put on shows each year. 'Jim' has a gas engine collection of more than 150 units, housed in a new pole building, and has many rare engines.

He is shown with his 6 HP Galloway, one of the rare ones, above. Pete Patek is shown with his 24 HP Superior oil field engine (right). It is a big revelation to see Pete start this big engine. With the valves held open, he starts those big flywheels turning and then, in a rather leisurely manner, walks to the front of the engine to release the intake valve and choke it. It invariably starts, to the intense surprise of all of the spectators, who think that a more frantic effort should be necessary! These engines were used as late as thirty years ago in the central midwest to pump oil wells. They were located near the center of a ring of five or six wells, with the pumps connected by means of reciprocating rods sometimes up to a quarter-mile long, to a sort of horizontal crank belted to the engine. The big white tractor, in the next picture, belongs to Dan Pelnar and has a V-12 engine from an American LaFrance fire engine mounted on a McCormick Deering W-9 chassis, which was lengthened to accomodate the big engine. So far, Dan hasn't found a load big enough to stall it! His Lehr 'Big Boy' is an example of a post-WWII tractor built to help satisfy the need for farm tractors when industry was slowly resuming peace-time production.

A crowd of about 200 people were most appreciative and complimentary of the efforts of the Vlasaks and Pateks in staging the show. It is not always necessary to haul our old iron fifty or a hundred miles in order to display it at an established show. Often we can get as much pleasure and satisfaction from exhibiting in our own neighborhood among our friends and acquaintances in a more relaxed surrounding.


 Norma Austin,Editor Florida Flywheelers, 6795 58th Avenue, North, St. Petersburg, FL 33709

In the middle of Winter, thousands of people gathered at Pioner Park, in Zolfo Springs, Fla., for a spectacular 4-day engine show, plus more.