1995 Riverbend Steam and Gas Show

Case steamer

Russ Gelder's 25 HP Case steamer.

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2222 92nd St. S.W. Byron Center, Michigan 49315

The River bend Steam and Gas Association of Allendale, Michigan, held its 27th show July 21, 22, 1995, at the Lee Scholma farm. Allendale is a small town located about 12 miles west of Grand Rapids. We are a smaller show, but we have a friendly atmosphere that makes time spent here fun for the whole family.

Approximately 150 tractors were on display. Case was the featured tractor this year. Although this area of Michigan is not Case country, a good variety of Case tractors still appeared, including an old cross mount.

A number of OilPulls are seen here every year. Al Rosema, our club president, had his 16-30 here that he restored a few years ago. A longtime feature of the River bend show is his 1914 15-30 OilPull. This huge single cylinder tractor was used near Holland, Michigan, for many years. Al also brings along his 1918 wooden Rumely Ideal thresher every year. Since new, this machine has been a companion to his 15-30 OilPull.

John Fennema brings three Rumelys of his own every year, a 15-25, a Rumely 6, and a 30-60 that his father purchased new around 1925. An elderly gentleman in my church remembers when it was delivered on a railroad car to Cutlerville, Michigan. He told me he was 'sick' from school that day to go see it unloaded. Railroad ties were used to drive it off.

John Huitema brought his 1926 16-30 Eagle tractor and also his 1940 British Field Marshall. This one cylinder diesel is started with a shotgun shell. It's also fun to watch in the tractor pull, as it shakes and blows smoke rings out of that exhaust stack!

Other brands represented this year include Farmall, John Deere, Huber, Massey Harris, Ford & Ford-son, Oliver, Minneapolis-Moline, Allis-Chalmers, and McCormick-Deering. The West Shore two cylinder Club had their display of John Deere.

A special feature of this year's show was the rare 1918 John Deere All Wheel Drive, owned by Frank Hansen. It drew a lot of spectators.

Four steam engines were shown also. Ninety-two year-old Herm Walcott had his Case. His grandson, Russ Gelder, had his 1911 25 HP Case that he assembled himself. It was originally a skid engine, but he acquired some wheels and gearing from the Reynolds Museum in Alberta and added them onto his engine to create a traction engine. Charlie Ulrich had his 1915 Port Huron. It's really impressive to see how much raw power these steamers have! On a smaller scale, Pete La Belle had his small self-propelled, homemade steamer.

Machines displayed include the shingle mill, owned by Sharon Schut. It was manufactured in Grand Rapids, Michigan, by Perkins & Company in the late 1800s. A Blizzard silo filler, owned by Tom Rosema, is also seen in action as he feeds hay or cornstalks into it. A New Idea corn husker, owned by Pete Eaton, spews out shredded cornstalks and golden ears of corn. Norm Stiengaga's hammer-mill hums along as the ears of corn are pulverized into powder. The sawmill was running both days, as there was a big pile of logs waiting to be cut up. The Baker fan is available for anyone to belt their tractor up to and give it a test.

The big crowd pleasers were the two threshing machines. Besides Al Rosema's Rumely Ideal, Lee Scholma had his 1930s-era Huber. It makes a good companion for his Huber tractor. Lee bought this thresher two years ago at an estate farm auction, just two miles down my road. It had been stored unused in a barn for over 30 years, and was in good original condition.

A recent acquisition is the 40 HP Franklin valveless that was donated to the club. It was originally used to run an electrical generator for powering oil wells. We've had it running, but it still needs to have some bugs worked out, hopefully, by next year.

One spectator remarked to our club president that there's not many places left anymore where he can take his family out for good clean fun. He said our show fills that need, and he intends to come back next year.

We hope to see you here at our next show, July 19, 20, 1996, for good clean family entertainment!