PLOWINGThe Big Peerless 40-120

Austin Monk's big Z3 Peerless

Austin Monk's big Z3 Peerless 40-120 at the 1988 Barnes Steam & Power Show at Belgrade, Montana.

Melvin Kestler

Content Tools

712 Chaps Road, S. E. Rio Rancho, New Mexico 87124

Attended the annual Barnes Steam & Power Show, Belgrade, Montana, August 26 through 28, 1988. This is the show where Austin Monk of Marion, Montana keeps and shows his big Z3 Peerless 40-120 steam traction engine. I rode on the big Peerless as it pulled with ease 20 John Deere 14' plows in dry hard gumbo soil. It had not rained in Belgrade for over two months. The plow crew members were able to get the plows in the ground 5' to 6' by standing on the plows. The plow was perfectly adjusted and all shares went into the ground at equal depths.

On my ride on the big Peerless, Dale Richardson of Orofino, Idaho was engineer and Austin Monk the fireman. Dale and his father, Joe, have a perfectly restored Case 110 along with several other late Case engines. Dale was more than impressed with the performance of the big Peerless. The engine fire box was completely filled with wood none added while plowing both ways in the field. Austin left the 1' injector on all the time the engine was plowing, during which time he kept the steam pressure steady within 1 or 2 lbs. of 150 lbs. and the engine never popped-off any time before or after the plowing. What a fireman! It's hard to believe how the Peerless handled such a big load with such ease at 2 miles per hour. With extension rims the rear drivers are 4 feet wide. Rodney Monk, grandson, Marion, Montana and Gary Yaeger of Whitefish, Montana operated the big Peerless most of the time. You non-believers will have to come to Belgrade next year.

Left: side view of Austin Monk's big double cylinder 40-120 Peerless. It's really big. Right: Austin Monk's big 40-120 Peerless pulling 20-14' John Deere plows at a depth of 5' to 6' in dry gumbo soil with ease.

Firing up the big Z3. Austin Monk of Marion, Montana, owner, is on left bunker. .

The two attractive and very active Barnes daughters were everywhere during the show operating various equipment and doing all types of hard labor jobs.

Met and visited with Dale and Brigetta Richardson during the show. Brigetta made an excellent sound video cassette of the Barnes show including the Peerless plowing while she rode on the engine. Also, met and visited with Clarence and Dean Young of Great Falls, Montana. Clarence bought my three piece Case 65 outfit in 1974 while it was in Twin Falls, Idaho. Clarence has a large collection of engines (including a 110 Case), tractors, threshers, cars, etc. I followed the Youngs home and we all visited for several days. Stopped and visited with Joe and Marie Richardson of Orofino, Idaho, several days on my way home. Enjoyed seeing all of Joe's beautifully restored engines and automobiles.