Rock River Thresheree, Edgerton, Wisconsin 1996

Old Iron and Some People I Met On Labor Day '96 At

The Rock River Thresheree

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 weekend.)

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 History".

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 U

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 the show.

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 Case 22-65

Part 4 - Everyday Goodies From The Past

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.


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Page prepared on 10/10/96 by

Chuck Bealke Dallas, TX