The Annual MMOGTA Gas Tractor Show: Come to Oakley & Hear ‘em Run

Mid-Michigan club puts on true working tractor show

| January 2012

  • Advance Lap-seam Boiler
    This 10 hp Advance lap-seam boiler was built in 1895. “For the first 10 years it was used in the factory,” says Lon Meyers, Henderson, Mich., who bought the engine with his dad in 1983. After a factory rebuild, it was sold in 1905 with an Advance separator; the two worked together at the August show.
  • Rumely Model F
    Bud Rosema’s Rumely Model F 15-30, fully original. The one-cylinder tractor has a 10-by-12-inch bore and stroke.
  • “It’s a pretty uneasy feeling to drive it,” says K.R. Hough, Hobart, Ind., shown here being coached by Justin Click in driving a Rumely line-drive tractor.
    “It’s a pretty uneasy feeling to drive it,” says K.R. Hough, Hobart, Ind., shown here being coached by Justin Click in driving a Rumely line-drive tractor. “There’s no steering wheel, no clutch and no brakes. It’d probably work better with an implement behind it. Basically, you pull and release to go forward, and you pull one rein at a time for reverse. It’s like pulling the cords on window shades.”
  • Tinware produced by Craig Halovach.
    Tinware produced by Craig Halovach.
  • A 1954 Allis-Chalmers forage harvester and WD-45 on the job.
    A 1954 Allis-Chalmers forage harvester and WD-45 on the job. The pair is owned by Bill and Dorotha Bugard, Webberville, Mich.
  • Craig Holovach
    Craig Holovach demonstrates the art of the tinsmith. In addition to kitchenware and decorative pieces, smiths also fabricated stovepipe.
  • Dave Snyder’s Rumely Model G 20-40 with its original after-market cab.
    Dave Snyder’s Rumely Model G 20-40 with its original after-market cab.
  • Broom Making
    Using an 1878 broom vise and locally grown broomcorn, Theresa Schonert shows how brooms were once produced. “I use brooms like these at home,” she says. “I do think they sweep better than brooms made of polyester.”
  • This unidentified 12-14 hp single-piston steam engine with a wooden flywheel was shipped to Port Huron, Mich., in 1836.
    This unidentified 12-14 hp single-piston steam engine with a wooden flywheel was shipped to Port Huron, Mich., in 1836. 

  • Advance Lap-seam Boiler
  • Rumely Model F
  • “It’s a pretty uneasy feeling to drive it,” says K.R. Hough, Hobart, Ind., shown here being coached by Justin Click in driving a Rumely line-drive tractor.
  • Tinware produced by Craig Halovach.
  • A 1954 Allis-Chalmers forage harvester and WD-45 on the job.
  • Craig Holovach
  • Dave Snyder’s Rumely Model G 20-40 with its original after-market cab.
  • Broom Making
  • This unidentified 12-14 hp single-piston steam engine with a wooden flywheel was shipped to Port Huron, Mich., in 1836.

Make no mistake: The Mid-Michigan Old Gas Tractor Assn.’s annual gas tractor show is the biggest perpetual motion machine you’ll ever see. “Our visitors know they can go to a museum and see tractors parked,” reads a line in the official show magazine. “They come to Oakley to hear them run!”

The 2011 show was marked by the ever-present rumble of Rumely tractors on the job and on the prowl. With the Rumely Products Collectors holding their 2011 Expo at Oakley, the grounds were filled with countless fine examples of that line.

Single-cylinder Rumely

Bud Rosema, Allendale, Mich., fell in love with Rumely as a teenager pitching bundles. “I said then, ‘one day I’m going to have one of those,’” he recalls. Years later, he learned of a 1913 OilPull Model F 15-30 nearby, the only single-cylinder in the OilPull line. The owner was not inclined to sell, but as time passed, he and Bud became good friends. In a chance conversation in 1970, Bud asked the man – as he often did, almost in jest – “Are you going to sell me that OilPull today?” This time, without warning, the older gentleman replied in the affirmative. “I about dropped my drawers,” Bud says. “I broke every speed limit in the county trying to get cash from the bank and get back to him before he changed his mind.”

The son of the tractor’s original owner, the seller had a few surprises up his sleeve. Included in the deal were the Rumely’s original bill of sale, all the Rumely tools that came with the tractor, two sets of extensions, ice spuds and the original manuals. Thirty years since it’d last run, the totally original 17,000-pound behemoth was ready to roll. “We towed it out of the shed and it started on the second turn,” Bud says.



The Model F reminds Bud of the first Rumely he ever saw. “They just run so slow,” he says. “Years ago, me and another young fellow were waiting for the engine to open up, to go faster. Finally the old man motioned to us to start pitching bundles. The old belt was stretched so far it was almost on the ground.”

Rumely Line-Drive

If you’ve never heard of a Rumely line-drive tractor, that’s understandable. Dating to about 1920, the model – steered by leather reins – is so rare that collectors speculate whether it was ever formally marketed. A handsomely restored line-drive owned by collector George Schaaf, Frankfort, Ill., was displayed (and demonstrated) at the Oakley show. “We just finished reassembly,” says restorer K.R. Hough, Hobart, Ind. “This tractor hasn’t been this complete in 50 years.”



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