Scott-Carver Threshers Celebrate 20 Years

Advance Steam Engine

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Box 317, Mound, MN 55364

John Sohoening, Maple Plain, has returned this 1914 50 HP Case to its original pristine condition and parades it daily at the Scott-Carver Steam and Gas Engine Festival.

As the Scott-Carver Threshers near Jordan, Minnesota, get steamed up for their twentieth festival, their founder marvels at their growth and progress.

Birth came to this group when Ernie Morrell suggested to his nephew Ken Scott that they go out to the old farm place and fire up grandpa's engine. Like all good ideas, it grew and grew. Next it was, 'Why don't we hook onto the old separator and thresh some grain?' Ernie never realized how that gem of an idea would become the glistening jewel it is today.

Buildings on their show grounds seem to grow like the prairie flowers, events increase like the wild mustard in the ripening wheat fields, thus the old timer's dream of having the most complete show in the Twin City area seems to be coming to fruition.

This 1910 Advance Steam Engine is one of the two engines that started the Scott-Carver Steam and Gas Engine Festival in 1964. It is now owned by Fritz Widmer, Mound, MN, and is being drive here by Jack Valek, Spring Park, MN.

Sunup Friday morning, the second weekend in August, brings John Schoening, Maple Plain, and Rudy Adams, LeSueur, hustling to their steam engines so they can be the first to build the fire to get steam up. As the morning dew sparkles in the early sunshine, one of them triumphantly sounds the wake-up whistle, signaling to all the members that it's time to steam, chug and whistle for three days.

John's sidekick, Ed Soley, in his bright green-and-pink-striped bib overalls (real eye-catchers), is usually the first to catch the aroma of sausage and pancakes drifting from the food stand, operated by members and their families. Throughout the day, one can find Ron Scott and many others flipping pancakes and then hamburgers over the hot grill.

As the morning wears on and more and more steam trails mark the sky, the Scott-Carver engineers fire up their favorite steam engines: Walt Zimmerman, his 1906 Case; Jim Mollenhauer, his 1923 Minneapolis; Rudy Adams, his 1920 Minneapolis; Joe Selly, his 1915 Advance; Denny Ames, his 1895 Advance; John Schoening, his 1916 Minneapolis; Jack Valek, his 1906 Advance; and Fritz Widmer, his 1910 Advance.

Visitors at the Scott-Carver Threshing Festival ask engineer Joe Selly, St. Peter, MN, about his engine and inspect his engineer's license.

By mid-morning over 300 antique farm and industrial machines are in action operating as they did at the turn of the century. Burning wood and water to build steam, the gigantic steam engines are belted to separators throughout the weekend to thresh the stacks and loads of rye and oats. The planting and harvesting of this grain is done by Reuben Boettcher and Bill Sobiech of Jordan. After they coax the binder to spit out the hundreds of bundles, the really devoted threshers realize how rough things were in the old days when they have to shock the grain.

Highlighting each day is the 2 P.M. parade which includes the massive steam engines, the antique autos and trucks, the old tractors, and the antique farm machinery and construction equipment. Other show attractions include an 1889 operating steam fire engine (owned by the Jordan Fire Department and restored by Ernie Morrell and Bill Olander), a shingle mill, a lath mill, a drag saw, a buzz saw, a straw baler, an 1880 schoolhouse and an early 1800's log house.

As smoke trails through the Saturday afternoon sky, fiddlers of all ages from Minnesota and Wisconsin compete at 4 P.M. for cash prizes in the annual fiddling contest. Sunday afternoon includes a bluegrass or country-western band entertaining in the main picnic shelter.

Along with the steam engines and gas tractors, Gordon Klehr's and Al Smith's Belgium and Percheron draft horses plow the fields with a walking plow, a sulky, and one-bottom, two-bottom and three-bottom plows. During the parade, they pull all the horse-drawn equipment, including the fire engine.

Operating for the first time in 1982 after hundreds of hours of sweat and toil by many members was the huge NSP stationary steam engine that was donated to the club several years ago. Clanking in the same building are the hammers of Ralph Harvey and Martin Luebke, as they pound souvenir horseshoes in the blacksmith shop.

New also in 1982 was the book and magazine shop, operated by Dorothy O'Day of Jordan, where she sells reprints (of manuals for many types of machinery), cookbooks, and fancy work books, as well as subscriptions to Iron Men Album!

Needless to say, Ernie looks on in wonder, sometimes unable to believe what a legacy he innocently created for his friends and relatives twenty years ago.