Manitoba Case Expo Show Report

Case engines

This long line of powerful old engines was pure Case from its beginning to its far-distant end.

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To put it mildly, the third annual International J.I. Case Heritage Exposition at Austin, Manitoba, on July 26-29, 1989, was the greatest gathering of vintage Case in history. It was a worthy successor to the International J.I. Case Heritage Foundation's two previous Expos-#1 in Pawnee, Oklahoma, in 1987 and #2 in Kinzers, Pennsylvania, in 1988.

Based on a one-time scan of the list of exhibitors and their exhibits, it appears that there were on display at Expo #3 approximately 21 full-size Case steam engines, more than 70 vintage Case tractors, nine scale-model operating steam engines of varying sizes, at least a half-dozen

Case threshing machines, six Case cars (all in running condition), more than a dozen modern Case tractors and related pieces of equipment, eight (count 'em, eight!) Case Eagles plus one live Case eagle in the person of Robert 'Abe, himself' McMillan of Miami, Manitoba (far from Florida!) in his eagle suit, eight Case dealer signs, and at least 43 other miscellaneous exhibits, ranging from plows to balers, literature to vintage Case farm toys, model farm displays and even a Case theme quilt.

The large grandstand at Austin was jam-packed every day for the parade and filled to standing room only with overflows seated on the grass and lining the fences on Friday and Saturday (this year's Expo ran from Wednesday through Saturday). The audience stood fast after the parade each day to take in the grain stooking (Canadian for what many Americans call 'shocking'that is, standing up bundles from the binder in multi-bundle groups for curing in open air and sunlight before threshing) and threshing contests in the arena in front of the grandstand.

Jim Briden of Fargo, ND was at the throttle as Jack Beamish s 110 Case engine pulled many bottom through the tough Manitoban sod at Expo #3.

The display of Canada-based steam and tractor power was awesome, with two 110 HP Case traction engines (one belonging to Jack Beamish of Hamiota, Manitoba, and the other owned by the hosting Manitoba Ag-Museum) and virtually the full line of other sizes of steamers on hand, plus a wide variety of crossmounts and other rare Case tractors. However, some 'imports' for the show attracted a lot of attention.

For starters, there was Sigmund Jacobson's magnificent 1922 40-72 tractor, which came all the way from Brocket, North Dakota, and pulled eight bottoms plowing on Saturday afternoon, first in low gear and then in high, without missing a beat. Sigmund's tractor made such a great contribution to the show that, following the close of Expo, the exhibit received a special award from the editors of Foundation's quarterly newsletter, Heritage Eagle. There was also the vintage 30-60, brought to Austin by John Tysse of Crosby, North Dakota. What a sight to behold, the 40-72 and the 30-60 side-by-side, then running 1-2 in the parade line-up of tractors. Case tractor fans thought they'd died and gone to heaven, but that wasn't all; there were more than a dozen other tractors in the exhibition that came out of the first 20 years of this century, all of them 70 or more years of age. There also were some ooohs and ahhhs around the much younger 1936 RC brought from Maryland by Case Heritage Foundation director Tony Wells, because it sported that Wells trade mark a peerless restoration to like-new condition. Amid the older, more weather beaten tractors, it was a marvelous thing to see people like Lavern Batie of Webster, South Dakota, and Larry Lowe of Manitoba working side-by-side trying to get the Manitoba Ag-Museum's old 12-20 started after it had been frozen-up for many years. It finally started!

Some of the Canadian steam engines, like the Beamish 110, with 44 x 66' separator and water wagon, and the Patterson, Adams, Sterling and Sterling 75 HP engine with its vintage tender, sprang to life for attendees at Austin; other show stoppers included the beautifully restored 9 HP tandem brought to Expo by its joint benefactors, David Fie and Foundation director Kevin Anderson, from South Dakota.

While we're talking about steam, we need to mention what a sight it was to behold as three and sometimes four threshing machines contributed to the building of the straw stack each day at Austin. The Beamish 110 took a stint each afternoon, then went on to do some powerful plowing; the threshing continued with other Case engines and some of the other makes working so hard that, by the end of the four-day show, the straw stack probably stood 40 or more feet high.

Not all of the threshing power was from steam. For instance, on Saturday afternoon, one of the hook-ups was a double-belted arrangement using both a Titan and a Mogul for power. With Bob Anderson of Mac-Gregor, MB, overseeing the operation, it was a sight to make an old IH man let the chest out an inch or two with pride. The sawmill operation also demonstrated Case steam at work and processed plenty of timber to lumber in the process.

The whole nine yards: Jack Beamish's 110 Case steam traction engine pulling a Case 44 x 66' separator and water wagon passes in review.

There were the Case cars six of them, four of which had never attended an Expo in the past. There were three cars attending from Manitoba, including 'Miami Bob McMillan's bodyless 1915 Model 25 chassis-with-motor that was making its first public appearance, while the 1913 touring car from the Elkhorn, MB, Antique Auto Museum (chaperoned by a wonderful new friend, Lind McAuley) was a gem to see because it was in original paint, and George Heaman's 1910 (that's right, 1910the first year Case had a car!) five-passenger touring car attracted lots of well-deserved attention because not too many people had seen a 1910 before. The other newcomer to Expo was John Gust from Bashaw, Alberta, who had just gotten his 1912 model 40 touring car running and nicely restored a few weeks prior to Expo. The Gust car was acquired by John in not-so-good condition from an old gentleman in May 1988 and it took up to a year of hard work to get her in tip-top shape and up to John Gust's personal standard a very high standard, we might add of restoration. Maryland's Tony Wells was on hand for the third straight Expo with his magnificently restored 1917 seven-passenger touring car from Maryland, while Stan and Katy Sill of Rockford, Ohio, checked in with their fantastic 1924 Model X Roadster that made its debut during Expo #2 at Kinzers. Assuming Aeroquip Corporation continues to provide some sponsoring support for this auto's appearance, the Sill's car is expected to be a featured attraction at next year's Case Heritage Expo in Brooks, Oregon.

There were eight of those wonderful old cast iron, four-foot Case dealer Eagles at Expo #3, a new record. Two each were brought to the show by Bob McMillan, the Manitoba Ag-Museum and Peter Cowan of Minnedosa, Manitoba.

In the last couple of years, the Frank Hillikers of Lakewood, Colorado, and Alex Zelankos of St. Catherines, Ontario, have been premier exhibitors under the Case Heritage 'big top.' They were truly stars of this year's event, but they had some company. For instance, Walter Ellis of Komoka, Ontario, came with one of his superb model farm exhibits; it was a Case-oriented farm with working equipment in the barnyard and even a miniature Case Eagle standing watch. Then there were people like Charlie Brawn of Coleville, Saskatchewan, with a great toy display; Bill Day of the Rollag (Western Minnesota Threshers), who brought a small-scale 110 HP Case cutaway that fascinated steam buffs; Phyllis Elder of Hartney, MB, who displayed a dandy, newly completed quilt featuring silk-screened blocks of color photos showing Case Heritage activities; Elwood Heath of Waskada, MB, exhibiting superbly crafted wooden steam engine models; Clarence Hoehman of Pittsburg, Oklahoma, displaying some vintage literature and Case artifacts; and many, many more. By the way, Clarence, who is the Foundation's 'Case Car Doctor,' had a lot of fun driving and studying some Case Cars he hadn't seen before and also enjoyed working on the 40-72 and 30-60 tractor (he apparently is a pretty good 'Big Case Tractor Doctor' too!).

As readers might expect, we've found that there's some truth in the adage, 'A picture is worth a thousand words,' so you'll find a few thousand words' worth of pictures accompanying this story. Believe me, there are a million words' worth of pictures left over. I conclude with the statement posted in behalf of the Foundation on the bulletin boards at Expo #3. It said: 'The International J.I. Case Heritage Foundation expresses its sincere appreciation to all of those persons associated with the Manitoba Agricultural Museum, including its staff and Board of Directors, its Ladies Auxiliary, and especially the Museum's Case Heritage Expo Committee (Chairman Jim Down, Terry Farley, Jack Beamish, Robert Beamish, Grant McEwan, Robert Anderson and Robert McMillan) for their cooperative spirit and generous contribution of personal time, hard work, expertise and ideas in making this 1989 Exposition such a pleasure for all of the rest of us. Additionally, the Foundation expresses sincere thanks to the Case Heritage Expo Exhibitors who've come from far and near to make this a truly outstanding presentation of engines, tractors, machinery, Case Cars and memorabilia for the education and enjoyment of all ages of persons who attend this event.

Signed for the Foundation: Helen Case Brigham, Secretary-Treasurer, Case Heritage Foundation.'