White Pine Logging and Threshing Show

Minnesota’s White Pine Logging and Threshing Show started with a family’s Rumely collection and turned into a tractor show

| April 2011

When John Langenbach started collecting old iron in 1969, he had no idea that his hobby would morph into a tractor show he’d host with his wife, Nancy, on the family farm near McGrath, Minn. “My dad, William, and I started collecting old stationary engines together in about 1969, when I was a sophomore in high school,” he recalls. “I started attending shows and enjoyed it, and continued on from there.” 

Three decades later, that engine hobby has grown into an annual show on the home place with more than 20 buildings surrounded by 250 exhibitor tractors, a busy demonstration schedule and an on-site newspaper printed on vintage equipment. Held over Labor Day weekend (Saturday through Monday), the event features displays, demonstrations and food concessions. It’s a huge undertaking but no one’s complaining. “It wouldn’t be much fun if you just had a bunch of tractors and kept them in a shed all the time,” John says.

If you build it …

John and his father had already been hauling antiques to area tractor shows when they decided to participate in a major event. In 1976 the two loaded tractors, gas engines, a shingle mill and a model sawmill to take to Finlayson, Minn., for a U.S. Bicentennial display. “After that, we decided it was too difficult to move stuff all the time,” John says. “We decided to have a little show on our farm.”

Thus was born the White Pine Logging and Threshing Show near McGrath in 1979. Though it started with mostly Langenbach tractors, in 2010 (the 32nd annual presentation) the display numbered more than 250 tractors shown by exhibitors from all over.

“One of the unique things at our show is that we run all tractors of one make at one time, all the Rumely, all the Case, all the John Deere,” John says. “My favorite to drive in the parade is any Rumely OilPull and I always drive my 1915 20-40 Case cross-motor tractor too.”

Because the White Pine tractor parade is organized by tractor makes, John can drive up to four different tractors during the parade. One of the most unusual tractors in the 2010 parade belongs to his friend, Ken Dawson. The 1925 Gray tractor has a cast iron rear drum wheel. “There are a lot of Gray tractors around, but this one is the only one we know of with a cast iron drum,” he says. “There are no high lugs or anything else unusual on it, but that cast iron drum doubles the weight, from 5 to 10 tons.”