brwnbar.gif (122 bytes)

A Picture Page of Machines And Their Helpers That I Met At


 Rollagban.gif (5004 bytes)


The Splendid Home Of The

Western Minnesota Steam Thresher's Reunion

Rollag, MN - Labor Day Weekend, 1997  

brwnbar.gif (122 bytes)

farmstea.jpg (18403 bytes)

Part 1 - The Setting

Rollag is a jewel of a show that shines radiant in a gorgeous setting - rolling wheat and hay fields rimmed by lakes and ponds, green pastures, fertile plowed ground, and and on one side the town with its two handsome church steeples. For me the centerpiece was the farmstead. Sure took me back to my younger days on the farm.

nicebarn.jpg (20878 bytes)

heyfield.jpg (35413 bytes)


farmalb2.jpg (24014 bytes)prettyba.jpg (45813 bytes)harnessi.jpg (39249 bytes)windmill.jpg (130054 bytes)wagonwhe.jpg (116343 bytes)barnwago.jpg (54440 bytes)

Click on smaller photos to bring up larger ones.   ~

flyingA.jpg (16432 bytes)oiljars.jpg (11944 bytes)engineshed.jpg (26360 bytes)

brwnbar.gif (122 bytes)


Part 2 - The Past In The Present

The show bustles with a variety of activities that recall the area's past. I watched steam engines pulling plows and powering a sawmill that received logs raised from the water nearby onto horse drawn wagons. A steam locomotive and tractor-drawn wagons were moving around the large site almost continuously to help the folks attending get about to see everything. In one building there was a fine collection of miniature engines. Another building (by the RR tracks) is a small town train station. Opening the door of that wooden establishment is like stepping back in time 100 years. It has authentic wall signs, telegraph set, wooden benches, coal stove and the rest of the trimmings from another age. As with most such events, a good part of the fun for me is watching the volunteers explaining how the relics from their (allright, our) childhood and before operated. While I was sitting in the train station, a volunteer my age was explaining the workings of the telegraph to a woman and her young, attentive son.

The show's widespread reputation is a tribute to hard work by skilled volunteers, good planning and management, a wondrous variety of working tractors and other antiques displayed, plus the support of attendees and the surrounding area. Hosting this annual world-class show has become a major local tradition, and the folks that live in this part of the country are obviously proud of the fame of the show and the part they play in recreating the past here every year. They have good reason to be.

Pre-Tractor  Horsepower

walkingt.jpg (127502 bytes) diskingt_.jpg (21352 bytes) disking__small.jpg (2031 bytes) teaminsh.jpg (60155 bytes)sep28_01.jpg (18128 bytes)

Steam-Powered Plowing

case&plo.jpg (16971 bytes)

steaplo.jpg (35520 bytes)caseplow.jpg (23158 bytes)smellofp.jpg (24520 bytes)caseplo1.jpg (47082 bytes)caseplo0.jpg (24321 bytes)


More Steam Power - Lifting Logs At Sawmill and Loading Gravel

texaslog.jpg (33512 bytes)skylogho+.jpg (37913 bytes)loglodr.jpg (16598 bytes)stmshov.jpg (20365 bytes)


The Harvest

pitchtol+.jpg (60922 bytes)haypitch+.jpg (52375 bytes)feedingT.jpg (18580 bytes)


brwnbar.gif (122 bytes)

Part 3 - The Wheeled Machines

Big shows with hundreds of tractors are not too hard to locate, and those with a group of steam traction engines are not really rare.  But to find such an incredible variety of both together as are operating here is astounding.    The parade of tractors ends at the top of a hill, and the sounds, sights and smells of the giants climbing the grade to the announcer is a real treat.  I was a bit surprized to find that while many of the iron-wheelers seventy and more years old clanged and rattled along, others moved by very quietly.   There was also a nice, broad sampling of gas and diesel tractor exhaust tones from the rubber tired antiques.  And after the parade there was plenty of time to go locate your favorites and chat with their operators.

Rollag Is The Place To Be If You Dream Of Steam

steamwal.jpg (12145 bytes)

rowawhee.jpg (164113 bytes)

steamerow.jpg (133816 bytes)solidfue.jpg (149745 bytes)stmrengd.jpg (18464 bytes)caseonpa.jpg (105561 bytes)


Parade of Tractors

paradeof.jpg (145696 bytes)

paradela.jpg (15884 bytes)

POT-IHW+.jpg (46085 bytes)POTfamil+.jpg (34924 bytes)trafficjam.jpg (41226 bytes)AsnSec's+.jpg (51902 bytes)jeep.jpg (107812 bytes)

D&thrash.jpg (17538 bytes)frick'nB.jpg (31421 bytes)


Sampling Of Many Acres Of Antiques On Display

lowrider2.jpg (250011 bytes) TrRowdow+.jpg (45320 bytes)variety+.jpg (47096 bytes)train$tr.jpg (50561 bytes)waterwag+.jpg (55237 bytes)hoods.jpg (22375 bytes)


The Unique - Don Dufner's Triple (JD 830) Design

3jdsidew.jpg (13956 bytes)

3jdballj.jpg (36784 bytes)   ~  For More Info, See Part 4 Below  ~

3jd-rear.jpg (14936 bytes)


brwnbar.gif (122 bytes)

Part 4 - The People

For me, half the fun of antique tractor gatherings is getting to talk with great people.  Rollag is definitely my kind of show and my kind of people.  What starts as a brief question on harness, plow, or windmill adjustment can easily turn into an hour's discussion and perhaps a long friendship. 

If I had come with a big truck and heavier wallet, I could have gone home with a reasonably priced JD 830 that was mentioned by a fellow standing next to me to watch the parade of tractors.  (Well, to be truthful I should add a few more "if"s to cover spousal reaction, storage costs, place to restore it, etc.)   Darn, always wanted a diesel with a pony motor.

This is a place to learn and to share memories.  Guys my age even compare notes on persistent distractions from our hobbies - things such as kids, crop prices, jobs, and grandchildren.  It's also fun learning how local farming practices differ.  In one hour,  I got briefed on MN laws relating to stocking of ponds, what's new with the local railroads and tractor dealerships, and farm museums of interest in the Fargo area.

texaslo0.jpg (53388 bytes)

Had to come all the way to Rollag to meet a guy from back home (Texas).  Rick Johnson (left) works in Ft. Worth but volunteers at the show here just like many locals.  The sawmill log load volunteer on the right is Don Forsberg of Ft. Ransom, ND.  

asnsec_w.jpg (26321 bytes)

Jerome Swedberg, WMSTR Secretary and busy man during show, kindly stopped to pose with his one-cylinder Hart-Parr. They also appear above in parade of tractors.

corn&bin.jpg (164529 bytes)

Dave Herbranson of Hawley, MN, with 1954 Case SC, corn binder and bundles of corn. 

3jd&don.jpg (20441 bytes) Don Dufner of Buxton designed and built the impressive rig shown here and above in 3 yrs. of his spare time from three modified John Deere 830s.  He said this is primarily a work rather than a show machine and he uses it in his normal farming operations to pull a 42' field cultivator at approx. 6 3/4 mph  (5th gear).  He also noted it will easily pull an 11 bottom 16" plow.  He used a 6" ball joint (middle photo above) from a mining truck to connect the rear unit,  so that this unit can be fairly easily disconnected from the first two. 
oldfox.jpg (76780 bytes) When I reach my 80's, may I have the delightful sense of humor, keen insight and great memory of tractor trader extraordinaire Forrest Pense.  Forrest is from Harvard, NE and is shown here on the right with his friend Clyde Obermeier of Giltner, NE.  Forrest has a keen knowledge of steamers, early gas tractors and about anything else sold for farm use in the early part of this century.  It was almost dark when I asked him which tractor models he remembered most fondly from his youth.   He took me like a shot to a 1917 Huber on display (not his) and pointed out the features that made it easy to operate, reliable and a favorite of his formative years..
jumpstar.jpg (18152 bytes) Unfortunately, my sawmill pics did not come out well, and a roll of film was lost.  Therefore, this is the only picture I have of Richard Adams of Columbia, MO, and the 1923 Case 40-72 (owned by Dennis Powers of Ogden, Iowa). Richard was starting here with the help of  '49 Case CD-4 driver Johnathan Haux (foreground).   In an enjoyable ride to the sawmill (to provide pulley power to the saw) Richard told me a bit about the 40-72 and what it's like to care for and operate it.
ladyengi.jpg (14869 bytes) You just don't see many ladies operating one of these.  Beth Horne of Horace, ND, learned her love of steamers from her grandfather.  Although she works raising two young sons, she is also learning to be an engineer on these old machines and seems right comfortable with this Huber 25 owned by Marlene Nelson of Hawley, MN. 
modelt.jpg (21085 bytes)

Jerry Mandt of Wahpeton, ND, was enjoying scooting about the showgrounds in his 1917 Ford Touring Model T.   I really liked the convenient auxiliary seating he carries on the running board.

enginefriend.jpg (31051 bytes)

John Davidson of Bristol, WI, is just the fellow you need to have around if you have an antique stationary engine problem to fix.  Here, he works on a Joiner Double-Acting Tandem, which may have been the proof of concept engine used to patent the engine design.   A full-sized Joiner engine (lots bigger but same design) will soon be completed in the show building close to where this one is located.

brwnbar.gif (122 bytes)


Click here to email me a comment.

Tulare ('97) California Show
Thresheree ('96) Wisconsin Show
North Texas('97) Dallas Show
TractorStuf A Personal Page
Antique Tractor Museums A Listing of Museums in the US by State
Life On The Farm Short Personal Farm Reminiscence, Anecdote or Story (Bi-Monthly Serial)

This page was completed on 1/30/98 by Chuck Bealke, Dallas  ~

brwnbar.gif (122 bytes)

Postscript (7/29/01)
NOTE: This year's show to be held in Rollag on Aug 31 - Sept 3, 2001. For info see the official WMSTR show site.

sitemaplofhd.gif (1366 bytes)