The Rice County Steam and Gas Association held its 7th annual Threshing Show on September 6 and 6, 1981. It was held on the Malecha Bros, farm, which is about 35 miles South of Minneapolis, Minnesota. It is always held on the Labor Day weekend.
Despite the very wet month of August, the show went on as scheduled. The shocks had to stay out in the fields till the day before the show. Other years they were always stacked, but due to the wet summer, this year was an exception. Some of the oat shocks were sprouting so much already that they had to stay in the field and were plowed under after the show. Both days turned out to be beautiful, as I think all the members of the Association prayed for sunny skies.
The exhibitors and flea markets started arriving early Saturday morning. Some came as early as 6:00 AM. There was the hustle and bustle of members, the wives, friends, all getting everything into full swing. Soon you could hear the putt-putt and billows of smoke from the steam engines. There was activity everywhere you looked. On both days, the threshing machines were blowing their straw into fluffy piles. Of course, no new straw pile is complete without all those small kids sliding down the sides of it.
The thresher was run by both steam engines and the antique gas tractors. There was also a lathe mill, shingle making, corn chopping, a portable saw mill, wood planer, and several splitters, all adding to the activities. We had about 50 to 75 gas and diesel engines ranging from a 25 HP Superior to small Maytags, and every style and size in between. There was a line of about 75 antique tractors. Just to mention a few of the varieties there were: Fordson, McCormick, Farmall, Case, Ford, Massey Harris, Hart Par, Rock Island, Huber, Thieman, John Deere and Allis Chalmers. We had seven large steam engines who were letting off their steam. There were Case, Bakers, and Advance. There were also several small scale models showing off their 'toots.'
Other things of interest were displays ranging from walking plows to antique hand tools and wrenches to scale model tractors. Many of the large wooden machinery did not make it to the field this year due to the previous damp weather. A blacksmith was there, showing people his trade, and several antique cars and trucks formed their special line. A helicoptor was busy both days giving rides. For those people who would rather keep their feet on solid ground, there was an old time band which played constantly for the people to enjoy. We had a parade at 2:00 in the afternoon each day. We had our own food and refreshment stand this year, with members and their wives taking their shifts.
On Sunday morning, we had a non-denominational church service out in the field, which was open to the public, and a pancake and sausage breakfast followed. On Sunday after the parade, we had a raffle in which we raffled off a gas engine every year for the past three years. All in all, we had a great turn out, and everyone enjoyed themselves to the fullest. And just in time Sunday evening, when everything was closed down, we had a terrific downfall of rain. As a matter of fact, we all had a hard time getting the exhibits off the field the next day.
The officers wish to thank all those who worked, exhibited, and those who just came and enjoyed the show, and to anyone else who helped us put on a really great show. As our club motto states: 'Preserving a bit of yesterday for tomorrow', we hope we may continue to do so for many years to come.