R.R.1, Box 16, Gladstone, Manitoba ROJ OTO
Manitoba, Canada reporting our 17th Annual Threshermen's Reunion and Central Manitoba Stampede held last July 28th to 31st, 1971.
Attendance records were broken this year when an estimated 52,000 people passed through the gates. Cars, campers and trailers with license plates as far away as British Columbia to Prince Edward Island in Canada, also California, Mexico and most of the Northern and mid-western United States were jammed into the grounds at the site of the Manitoba Agricultural Museum, at Austin, Manitoba, Canada.
It was indeed a pleasure to see so many American visitors at our show in 1971. This year's crowd was a 35% increase over the previous year's, when the final day set a record of 19,500 for a single day.
Another record was broken when 118 mobile gas and steam tractors kicked off each day's activities, with a gigantic parade, puffing and rolling past the grandstand.
Opening day, like most events this summer, was greeted with the inevitable rain which cancelled all afternoon events, but the evening events went off as per schedule which featured the usual stampede fare saddle bronc and bull riding; bareback riding, steer wrestling, wild cow milking, ladies barrel racing, the Frick and Roman riding and the ever-exciting chariot races. These events were held each evening with the finals coming on Saturday.
The remaining three days emerged beautiful and warm with brilliant Manitoba sunshine, and following each day's huge parade of vintage vehicles, the usual afternoon events were held, such as: bag tying, sheaf tying, stooking contest, threshing contest and slow race with all finals on the last day.
Demonstrations were on each afternoon on plowing with an 80 HP Case steamer and a six furrow plow, teeter-totter with steam tractor, Baker Fan, Log sawing, Planer and shingle mill and a Grist-mill which operated daily, making flour from local ground Manitoba wheat which found ready sale for all the flour it could produce (flour with nothing added and nothing taken away). It has been reported since this flour made excellent bread, pancakes, muffins and etc.
Chief Peguis and his Indian dancers from Hodgson, Manitoba had set up their teepees on the site and performed twice daily their ancient traditional dances as grass dance, scout dance, prairie chicken dance and round dance.
A four-day Threshermen's Horse-shoe Tournament was held on the grounds run by a Horse-shoe ex-champion, Mr. J. McTavish of Birtle, Manitoba. Mr. Roy McCann of Car berry, Manitoba emerged the winner and was awarded the Lobb trophy.
Adding color to the show, the Car berry Legion Band and Majorettes performed daily. Each evening wound up with open air jitney dancing on the grounds, with the local Austin Melodies orchestra in attendance.
Trophies were presented on the final day for the following: Bag tying, W. E. Reimer of Elm Creek, Manitoba and Sheaf tying; W. E. Anderson, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
Clarence Denser of Austin, Manitoba was a double trophy winner when he placed 1st in both Best Kept Gas Tractor-Hart-Parr and the Senior Belt Setting Contest. Two Winnipeg men, Percy Henderson and Jack Collier walked off with the trophy for Best Kept Steam Tractor-Case. Ed Shust of Ross-burn, Manitoba representing the Young Pioneer Club won the Junior Blet Setting trophy.
Thousands of artifacts and antiques are on display in the Centennial Building (our 1967 Centennial project) which is located on the grounds. The Yellow Quill Cottage and Centreville School are all open to the public and are refurbished in the pre-20th Century vintage. During the past year a number of improvements have been made at the Museum. Among them is a chain link fence which now surrounds the 176 acre site. A big modern barn has been moved on the grounds for housing the stock used for the rodeo events.
A new modern shop, 40' 80', to be used for year round restoration work on old machines has been completed. The Federal Government supplied $15,000 of the $30,000 cost.
A pioneer town site is being developed within the Museum grounds. Already located at the site is the Muir log house, built in 1874 and moved from a location S. E. of MacGregor, Manitoba. Also at the site is Ayr school, a log building, constructed in 1883 and moved in 22 miles from S. W. of Gladstone.
The town site will eventually include a church, a livery barn, blacksmith shop, post office, general store, grist mill, millinery shop and harness shop. Plans also include plank sidewalks, hitching posts and all other structures related to pioneer life, including a hotel complete with a saloon.
It is hoped an old grain elevator and railroad station will be added to the town. This project, which they hope will be completed during the next decade, will have all buildings furnished and open to the public.
This is the planning ahead but there will always be each year, a Threshermen's Reunion and Stampede, bigger and better than the last.
This year the dates are July 26, 27, 28 and 29, 1972 and working plans are already in progress.
The Manitoba Agricultural Museum is located 80 miles west of Winnipeg on the Trans Canada Highway and 1 miles south of Austin, Manitoba on Highway 34.