Westward Ho, Was A-OK 1990 Case Heritage Expo Report

Case steam power

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'Brig' Brigham Co-Chairman, Communications, P.O. Box 5128 Bella Vista, AR 72714-0128

Gordon Fullmer, as specialist with Case-West, gets some hands-on experience with Case steam power in the cab of the 110, under the watchful eye of steam engineer Dale Richardson.

I'm not sure what was best about the 4th Annual International J.I. Case Heritage Exposition. Was it the sight of Joe Richardson's 1913 110 HP steam traction engine from Orofino, Idaho, parked nose to nose with the Case-IH 9150 with Stan Miner's 1/3-scale model of a 65 HP Case steamer out of Howell, Michigan, parked in the shadow of these behemoths? Or of Alan Schurman from Ridgefield, Washington, standing in a cloud of chaff as he fed sheaves of grain to his old 1880's Case apron thresher with power supplied by Case No. 711, perhaps the oldest of old steam traction engines owned by the family of the late Willis E. Smith, his son Robert (of Eugene, Oregon) at the throttle? Or of young Jeremy Johnson of Portland, Oregon, on the second weekend when he tooled up to the Case Heritage exhibit area aboard his newly restored 1949 SC (he and Dad worked night and day to get that tractor ready!)? Or of Foundation Director Neil Heesacker's son, Bruce, driving his dad's great old 15-27 Case Cross motor to a full-course run in the tractor pull, with flags (U.S., Case Heritage and Case-IH) flying; and of Neil Heesacker, the dad, breathless and almost speechless (a first for Neil) in his excitement over his son's achievement? Or of meeting people like Bill Wallner of Cave Junction, Oregon, who had details to convey about an old Case car; Leonard Case, who brought his 'Case-owned Case,' a 1934 C tractor, all the way from Duval, Washington; and Joe Madesh (J.I. Case ret., who lived up to his billing as the 'Harry Kline of the West'); and Ed Gerber, whose vintage LA is not the usual tractor it's personalized with PTO, power steering, a homemade cab and a coat of 'northwest power orange' paint? Or of Bob Waechter unveiling his almost completed 2-inch scale model of a steam traction engine he once worked with decades ago at the Bradley (Foundation Director Dan Bradley, his dad and Don's brothers) Family's sawmill in Montana?Or of Kurt Spegal (who is basically a JD Green man) driving his son Bryan's 1942 LA in the parade with Sauder Farm's 1870 Case engine No. 25 from Archbold, Ohio, in tow Or of Walter Spreeman, a Case legend, at the helm of another legend, the 110 Case engine? Or of Perry Johnson, making his first visit to an Expo cruising the grounds on the last Sunday in the driver's seat of Monte Shelton's 1913 Case touring car out of Portland, Oregon, vowing not to miss the next one and tooling by Stan Sill, a regular visitor to Expos from Rockford, Ohio, as Stan was loading up his 1924 Case roadster for another circuit of Antique Power land? Or of Tom Fenton playing his violin in the Case Heritage building as some extra added special entertainment for spectators watching the handcrafted models in his farm display go about the task of threshing 'in miniature'? Or of Dick Van Dyke, aboard his 1939 Case C tractor demonstrating Glen Watts Case 'Tumblebug' plow Or of Foundation Director Carl Tuttle's well-traveled, smooth-running 9-30 HP Case steam engine from Michigan working its heart out on the belt powering a Case threshing machine? Or of the pride in the eyes of Tony Stetson and his son, Jim, as many of the Case tractors the Stetsons have restored for themselves and others in the Pacific Northwest in recent years gathered for a mass showing to an appreciative, international audience of Expo-goers? Or Dottie Parsons, a veteran gatherer of old Case equipment and workhorse at vintage tractor rallies in New Zealand, soaking up the sights and scenes of a very special Case event in the United States with her video camera? Or, Ace Wischstadt from Vista, California, explaining how he made the beautiful wooden patterns, on display, in the process of building his nearly completed scale model of the 60 HP steam engine he runs at the annual ag-heritage events at Vista, California.

Case Heritage Foundation President W.C. 'Chady' Atteberry presents the Host Committee Plaque to Larry Leek, president of Antique Power land. Pat Atteberry (left) and Linda Leek look on.

No, as great as they were, they weren't what was best at Case Expo #4!

Not even the tremendous crowds of people who flocked to the Expo/Great Oregon Steam up in spite of record-tumbling hot weather on both weekends were what was best about this event.

Stan Miner of Howell , MI, and his 1/3 scale model of a 65 HP engine are dwarfed by the Richardsons' 110 and a 1990 Case-IH 9150 tractor

At any other Expo, any and all of the above-mentioned memorable happenings and experiences could be considered to be the highlights. But, what was best about Expo #4 was seeing two really great men of the West and of 'Casedom', Harvey Mikkelson of Silverton, Oregon, and Joe E. Richardson of Orofino, Idaho, meeting old friends and making new friends.

Both Harvey and Joe (with his son, Dale) played major roles in the success of the 1990 Case Expo. The Richardsons were represented by their '110' and their 1914 Case touring car. From Harvey Mikkelson's array of Case, Expo featured his 50 HP traction engine, plus several portables (including the wonderful old 1881 No. 1056), his 1929 L tractor and his Case Eagle.

But, it was the presence of the two men, themselves, that was best. For young people like Jeremy Johnson, Brian and Bret Spegal, and for all others young, old or somewhere in between it was a thrill to see the two men in person. For many, there was the opportunity to visit with these two good friends who have done so much for so many years to find, save, repair, restore and preserve old Case equipment, while at the same time doing so much to help others who are interested in working with vintage Case. They are living legends who were enjoying a grand reunion under the bright sun at Case Expo #4. It was not uncommon to near people who had not met Joe Richardson and Harvey Mikkelson before, say words to the following effect:

'What an honor to meet them.' 'What a thrill to talk to them in person.' 'What wonderful men they are!'

My wife, Helen Case Brigham, and I were pleased to make special presentations of the International J.I. Case Heritage Foundation flag to Harvey Mikkelson and Joe Richardson in recognition of their contributions over the years and at Expo #4 to the Case Heritage Movement.

James G. Tumelson of Seattle, WA, displayed this model Case steamer operating a matching electric power generator which, in turn, powered several light bulbs for his display.

As has been the case with all past Case Heritage Expos, the 1990 event drew spectators from distant points. Visitors came from as far away as New Zealand and Australia; but their commitment to long-distance participation was overshadowed by the effort made by exhibitors from across North America to bring special exhibits from many miles away to the Brooks event for the enjoyment and education of attendees.

Special awards, provided by the J.I. Case Company again this year, went to the following exhibitors who traveled the longest distances to Expo #4 and suffered some trials and tribulations along the way (one-way distances are approximate, as the crow flies; but a crow never went up and down as many mountains and rounded as many curves as these folks did going to-from Brooks this year).

Carl Tuttle, Howell, Michigan, 1910 9-30 HP steam traction engine, 2,100 miles (several flat tires and a broken axle in Wyoming on the way home; he finally had to summon help from home to bring a lowboy from Michigan and make the rescue); Stan and Katy Sill, Rockford, Ohio, 1924 Model X Case Roadster, 2,200 miles, top canopy around car on trailer blew off, constant fuel pump problems with their pickup truck not solved until within 200 miles of home; Stan Miner, Howell, Michigan, 2,100 miles, 1/3-scale model of 65 HP Case engine, no reported breakdowns, but a long trip and a lot of uphill climbs Stan deserved a good trip because on his way to Austin, Manitoba, for last year's Expo, he had trouble finding a motel one night, ended up sleeping on a picnic table in a public park and was almost carried away by mosquitoes! Robert Porth, Regina, Saskatchewan, 1939 R tractor, 1,000 miles, two awards one for the vintage tractor coming the longest distance and the other for the operating Canadian exhibit coming farthest to Expo #4, problems with a rented RV, needed repairs at Brooks before starting home; and Sauder Farm and Craft Village, Archbold, Ohio, special historical exhibit, the 1870 Case No. 25 portable steam engine, 2,100 miles, accompanied by Mahlon Detter and Steve Sauder of the Farm, broken spring and some other operating problems along the way. Substantial contributions toward the cost of transporting the No. 25 engine to Brooks were made through the Foundation to Sauder Farm by In-situform East, Inc., a pipeline reconstruction corporation based in Landover, Maryland, and members of the Brigham family. The little engine probably traveled farther in this one trip than it has journeyed in all of its previous 120 years put together.

Fischer Mill supply, Inc. of Oregon City, which was the Case dealer bringing a vintage operating exhibit to the event from the greatest distance (Gene Fischer brought a 1948 VA tractor), received the coveted J.I. Case plaque.

The cost of transportation for the Richardsons' 110 HP engine from its base in Orofino, Idaho, to Brooks, was borne by Case-West (western regional office), J. I. Case Company, as its principal contribution to the success of the Brooks event. But, in addition to the special assist, the Richardson especially Dale Richardson consumed many hours putting the old workhorse into Double-A-1 order for the show. Dale stayed with the engine throughout the two weeks of the Great Oregon Steam up show period.

Special thanks are due Gordon Fullmer, Ag-Products Specialist for J.I. Case-West, who coordinated the delivery of new Case-IH equipment for display and demonstration at this year's Expo and spent the first weekend of the event as an exceptionally helpful representative of J.I. Case at the Case Heritage exhibit area and to Hans Voldengen, who was on hand for the second weekend of Expo and continued with good cheer and helpfulness the Case-West participation through the second weekend. Hans even put the 7140 Case-IH tractor in the antique pull to see what she would do, and the modern giant pulled everything (including several vintage tractors) the fellows could pile onto the drag and never slowed down! Ag-West Supply, Inc., of Woodburn and other Oregon locations, gathered the new equipment and hauled it to Antique Power-land for the Expo.

This photo, taken at the Minnesota State Fair in 1903, was obtained from the Minnesota Historical Society and submitted by Michael A. Meyer, 29331 Co. Rd. 2, St. Joseph, MN 56374.

The Host Committee Award was received by Larry Leek, president of Antique Power land, on behalf of the officers and committee members who worked so hard before, during and even after the Great Oregon Steam up/Case Expo to produce a successful 1990 event. The committee, which certainly was one of the most cooperative and enthusiastic groups the Foundation has ever encountered, included Jerry Ducart, Harvey Hilands, Louann Goffin, Dale Powell, Leonard and June Miller, Jack Versteeg, Wes Tarr, Don Hendrickson, Tom Stuart and Harold Pruett (who did such a great job of wiring the building used as the Case Heritage Exhibit Center). Credit for success is also due in good measure to the Foundation's director from the Pacific Northwest, Neil Heesacker, for his coordinative activities.

Last year after Expo #3 in Austin, Manitoba, as had been the case in prior years after Expo #1 at Pawnee and #2 at Kinzers, the word was: 'This Case Expo will be hard to match in the future.' Expo #4, for reasons of its own, was just as wonderful and successful as numbers 1,2, and 3. The Foundation went 'Westward Ho the Wagons' and it was a very good stop. The memories will live a long, long time. Next destination? Case Heritage Expo #5 in conjunction with the 1991 Midwest Old Threshers Reunion, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, five-day Labor Day Weekend, August 29 through September 2. See you there!

For information and an informational packet about Case Expo #5 at Mt. Pleasant, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope (25 cents U.S.) to Case Heritage Foundation Secretary Helen Case Brigham, P.O. Box 5128, Bella Vista, Arkansas 72714-0128, phone 501-855-0312.