Rock River Thresheree, Edgerton, Wisconsin 1996
Old Iron and Some People I Met On Labor Day '96 At
The Rock River
Part 1 - About My Trip To The Thresheree
The 41st Rock River Thresheree was well worth the trip
from Dallas*. Plenty of steam tractors, pulling, dyno tests of
steam and later tractors, stationary farm engines, and the permanent
steam engine exhibits that the place is famous for. Seemed especially
heavy on Oliver, but most all colors were well represented. In
manuevering for photos I got threshed oat chaff in every pore,
a head full of coal flue soot (same smell that the big cities
had when I was a kid), and dust on my jeans like I'd been digging
potatoes. I loved it. As always, learned lots from restorers and
met a barn full of great folks with neat tractors, stories and
personalities. It was a moveable feast.
* (Thanks American Airlines for the $132.00 NetSAAver
last minute round trip fare to Chicago for netsurfers. Talk about
a quick decision - I did not know where I was going 'til 1:00
AM the morning I left. Had an Antique Tractor show guide, maps
and the AA screen open at the same time. Found that major Mt.
Pleasant, Iowa and Minn. shows were being held over this same
For more background on the history of the Thresheree
(largest yearly antique tractor show in Wisconsin) and description
of its events, size, location, etc, click below on "Show
Part 2 - Photos Of Old Iron and Some
Of Its Fans At The Show
Fine Folks With The Midwest Oliver Collectors (Mostly of IA,IL
& MI) And 1945 Oliver Standard
Chuck Pope of Whitewater said he spent as much fixing the
basket-case pony motor on this R as he did for the whole tractor.
Whatever he did seems to have worked wonders, and he showed me
some of the magic that a good machine shop can do. Son Charlie
at the wheel was itching to get home to a TV football game, but
shows here he is proud of his Dad's splendid handiwork.
Tom Palmer of Belleville poses with his attractive Minneapolis-Moline
Matt Weber of Union Grove and friend Dannelle Krukowski on
Matt's 1941 Allis Chalmers B
Derek Quam on Bob Gray's 1958 Ford 901
Next to this Case '53 VAC, owner Tom Wuebben exhibited a fine
'41 VC. Tom, who still works for the Case Racine Tractor Plant,
really knows his tractors and put together a nice display for
Tractor Pulling The Sled Past The Prizes
Part 3 - Real Live Dream Of Steam
Spent a big part of the day with the guys operating steam
tractors. Great people! Learned a bit and wished I could have
spent another couple of days to find out more. You can just as
easy get hooked on coal soot and steam as you can on gas or diesel
plow power. More weight, more iron to keep an eye on, more deliberate
brute power, and often more bucks needed to get started. You won't
hide this hobby in a garage or work long at it with clean clothes.
At the show I could see, hear and smell the temptation of steam
tractors. While I got hooked long ago on the sound of two green
cylinders pulling my plow, even that seems to suffer a bit in
comparison with the healthy call of a good steam whistle.
Edward (Red) Nelson's 1921 Vintage 19-65 Port Huron
Red Nelson bought along his great machine from Darien and was
kind enough to pose with a guy (me) that knew so little of coal
burning tractors that he came wearing a white shirt to climb around
and photograph them.
Pulling Up The Belt To Get It Over The Pulley. Guy Fay was
kind enough when he saw this picture here to e-mail me the following
tidbit, "...the fellow in the green clothes putting the belt
on the pulley on a Case steamer is Jim Homan, otherwise known
as 'Wheels Of Steel'. Jim is a major collector and had roughly
forty tractors at the show, mainly unusual or rare."
Charlie Birkrem from Cambridge at the business end of his
Part 4 - Everyday Goodies From The
This fine collection of drinking cups took me back to when
I drank marvelously refreshing water from a bucket just drawn
from the cistern. The water there was always cold and tasted best
during haymaking. Everyone drank from a common cup like this hanging
near the bucket pulley.
Another memory shaker. I used to use a pedal-start engine
off a Maytag washing machine like this to irrigate my strawberry
patch from a creek below it nearby. The berries thrived, and the
motor was almost as reliable as daylight.
Page prepared on 10/10/96 by
Chuck Bealke Dallas, TX