3208A 9th Avenue North Great Falls, Montana 59401
The Teton Antique Steam & Gas Threshing Association held its 1989 show and threshing bee the weekend following Labor Day. Unlike past years, the show was held at the association's new permanent location in Choteau, Montana instead of at Ove Larson's farm. However, as has been the case in most years, the weather was not overly cooperative. Saturday was cloudy with chilly winds, and Sunday morning was downright cold after the light snow that fell during the night. What kept the weekend from being a disaster was the location, surrounded by trees and buildings which blunted the force of the Montana gales.
Both days began around 7:00 a.m. with a sourdough pancake breakfast hosted by members Gordon and Paula Larson. Hotcakes, ham, scrambled eggs, coffee, and orange juice formed a typical old time thresher's breakfast. Anyone who went away hungry had to either be sick or not appreciate this type of menu.
New to the show in 1989 was a wooden frame shingle mill. Once we got it adjusted properly, we were able to produce souvenir shingles for those who desired them. Member Dan Lannen provided a branding iron and was kept quite busy producing these, some of which were given to businesses and individuals who donated money or services to the association. The mill will be a great asset when we begin restoration of the Great Northern Railway Depot which will be moved to the grounds this winter.
Power for the mill came from a John Deere W power unit purchased along with a Belsaw sawmill from Gene DuBree of Helena, Montana. On Saturday, the engine gave some trouble, but a magneto change Sunday morning solved the problem quickly.
Another new feature this year was grain grinding. Rae Ginther had our hammermill and Letz buhrmill belted to the club's 1942 LA Case. If only we could get the tractor to start easier, we would have a superb outfit. Rae sold several bags of flour and could have sold more but he ran out of wheat to grind.
Threshing took place both days to the extent permitted by wet straw. Two loads of bundles were run through Rick Corey's 30 x 48 Advance Rumely separator and produced 104 bushels of oats. Power was provided by Ove Larson's 1910 60 HP Case and Carl Mehmke's 20-75 Nichols & Shepard. Both engines handled the load ably and performed equally well on the sawmill. The oats made over 100 bushels per acre and would have done better had we been able to cut all of them; however, a wet summer caused part of the crop to lodge so that our John Deere Canadian Special binder couldn't get all of them. We finished threshing on October 15 using Rick Corey's John Deere R to pull the separator and came up with a total of 552 bushels of oats off 5.5 acres. Of course, a wet summer growing season on top of what was formerly an old alfalfa field made for almost ideal growing conditions.
Tractors galore were in evidence. Ben Wombacher and Harvey Wilt brought a set of Farmalls (A, B, C, Cub, H and M), as well as a W9. Carl Hanson had an 830 JD and a G. From Belt, Montana, came Bob Ryffel with a Cletrac F and a GP JD. A Waterloo Boy R was provided by Bill Baughman of Cut Bank and Richard Schenk of Great Falls brought his newly restored Allis Chalmers A. This last was most often seen spinning the Baker Fan. Others present were A and D John Deere, L Case, 22-36 and 14 McCormick-Deering, Greg Alzheimer's 18-36 Hart-Parr, 8N Ford and Bob Stromswold's Fordson. As always, the winner of the slow races was the Fordson.
Ed Seven finally found the key to starting the big Fairbanks-Morse Continental diesel engine while resetting it after the move into Choteau. We had overlooked the compression release for the left cylinder. With that in operation, his 22-36 McCormick-Deering spun the diesel over handily. Further work on the injectors and new rings for the left cylinder should let us put this engine in full operating condition.
Once our Corliss steam engine is operational (two or three years down the road), we plan to use its compressor to provide compressed air to start the diesel correctly.
Another attraction which is always popular is the blacksmith shop. The two smiths turned out pot hooks, hinges, crowbars, and various other items of iron for many appreciative patrons. We hope to enlarge the smithy in coming years and install a line shaft to operate the triphammer and postdrill on loan to the club.
Flywheel engines are another popular attraction at shows and ours is no exception. From Great Falls came Bud Witte, Basil Bellows, and Bill Miller. Each has several nicely restored units to display. Bud also brings along his trusty guard buzzards that he builds from old shovels, mowing machine guards, and bicycle forks. They look quite realistic and really add to the scene.
The 1990 show will be held September 8 & 9. For further information, contact Tom Railsback, 3208A 9th Avenue North, Great Falls, Montana 59401, telephone 406-452-9420; or Bill Obernolte, 817 Ninth Avenue Northwest, Choteau, Montana, telephone 406-466-2470.