Rumely Pulls Again
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The original publicity stunt was performed using Rumely OilPull tractors, but Dennis explains that three machines with identical gearing were not available to recreate the historic event.
A similar effort was made two months later at the Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion in Rollag, Minn., where the pull was completed with three 1912 Rumely Model E 30-60 kerosene-burning tractors.
Regardless, William Dove, a steam traction engineer from Louisa, Va., who drove Dennis's steamer during the 50-bottom pull, was thrilled by the chance to relive the famous publicity stunt.
'The power of steam is intense,' William explains with a smile about the excitement of steering the engine. 'I just aimed straight ahead.'
Even though rain fell on the big Rumely parade, it didn't dampen the spirits of show-goers and collectors. That's no surprise, Marvin Brodbeck, who served as National Threshers Association president for the last 27 years, says. It took five years to coordinate the event, and collectors brought equipment from as far away as Argentina to share at the reunion, Brodbeck adds.
The show's success wasn't a surprise to Dennis Rupert, who has been around Rumely tractors since his uncle showed the 'antique' machines in the 1950s. Dennis owns three OilPulls, including a 1924 Model S 30-60, a 1917 Model H 14-28 and a 1917 Model K 10-20 tractor.
'They were outstanding in quality,' Dennis says about Rumely products. 'They were still used by farmers well into the 1950s.'
Even with such great interest in Rumely farm equipment, Dennis says the reunion is likely the last time so many Rumely-made items will be in one place. That's one reason the reunion was so important - to help carry the Rumely torch into the 21st century.
'It keeps the heritage alive and helps introduce children to the hobby to keep the tradition going,' Dennis explains. 'Hopefully, Rumely will still be well known 50 years from now.'
- For information about Rumely Products Collectors, write Jamie Stevenson, 9596 Howard Road, Whitewater, WI 53190. Copies of the 150th Rumely Reunion panoramic photo may be purchased for $45, domestic shipping included, from Crabtree Photo, P.O. Box 1452, Morgantown, WV 26507; (304) 296-6050; e-mail: email@example.com
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