August 19 and 20th were the dates of the 1978 Rodgers, Minnesota show.
1511 Iglehart Avenue, St. Paul, Minnesota 55104
The weather for the 78 show was ideal. The temperature both days was comfortable; not too hot and no sign of rain.
A fine grove of shade trees was well taken by exhibitors of gas engines of all sizes. Threshing of oat bundles, lumber sawing, shingle making and stove wood sawing by gasoline powered saw rigs, were attractions during both days of the show.
A power operated blacksmith shop was in operation. A gas engine of about 15 HP was belted to a line shaft. When I arrived at the show I saw a man with a traction steam engine filling the storage tank on the engine with water at the well on the show site. The operator of the engine told me he was Henry Lahr of St. Joseph, Minnesota. He said he has operated a shop where he had done both blacksmith and machine work for fifty years. He told me he had recently threshed 400 bushels of oats on his farm using the above engine, which he said was 18 HP, running his 32' Minneapolis thresher. With that he drove the engine away. And as he did, a man remarked, 'he built that engine.'
At the gas engine exhibit I met Mr. & Mrs. Bob Bartheld and son, Jeff, who is an auctioneer. Their exhibit of 12 to 14 small engines was most interesting. Mrs. Bartheld, who had helped with advertising the show, was officially connected with the flea market which was in progress at the show.
They showed a gas engine made at Fairmont, Minnesota. The company is still in operation. The engine is used on railroad section cars replacing the old hand-powered cars that section crews used in the old days. The engine is rated at 8 HP when idling and at 13 HP when the throttle is wide open. It runs in either direction.
With all of the train wrecks we hear of nowadays, it's interesting to know that the tracks are being repaired, and that the wrecks may be avoided. We have always owed much to the men who worked on the section crews.
John Goldsmith of Amery, Wisconsin, was there with his usual fine exhibit of small gas engines.
George Wilson, Jr., of Eau Claire, Wisconsin had five gas engines and a miniature John Deere saw rig. The engine is one inch bore and one inch stroke. Others were a Sattley 1 HP and two 3/4 HP Nelson engine. He has eight more engines at home, all restored and painted.
John Helmer of Bruce, Wisconsin brought his centrifugal water pump. It was powered by Rupert Wheeler's 3 HP Simplicity engine. There was also a 2 cylinder Maytag, and a single cylinder Reo engine in this exhibit.
George Wilson, Sr., of Rice Lake, Wisconsin was giving rides using his model Rumely Oil Pull as usual, pulling a light wagon. He had a one cylinder small engine which he made that runs on gasoline vapor. He has a 2 HP tractor at home that runs on vapor from gasoline.
Models he intended to make in the winter of 1978-79 were a John Deere, a Galloway and three New Hollands. Besides the fine work Mr. Wilson has done with his model engines, he has another hobby which he considers a main one. It is the building of miniature racing boats. The boats he builds are 3' in length and they are modeled after Bill Muncy's Gold Cup Hydroplane, 3000 HP. Mr. Muncy lives in Los Angeles, California.
At the shingle mill, I met Orlin Jergenson who was sawing shingles stamped 'Anoka Engine Club.'
The Rodgers Show is sponsored by the Anoka Engine Club, Inc. Walter Dehns owns the land where the show is held. Andrew Heie had a large exhibit of tools most of which he had made himself. Of his 16 gas engines he has restored, he had 5 of them mounted on trucks on exhibition at the show. He has a F-14 Farmall which was in the parade both days.
The parade which took place at 2:00 each day consisted of 108 rolling units, 8 steam traction engines, 80 gas tractors, antique trucks and cars, including a 1922 Model 490 Chevrolet, passed the announcers stand.
Ralph Altenweg did a fine job announcing the parade both days. An announcer can really add interest to a parade. Like the announcer at a rodeo, he can add attention on the part of a crowd as to what is going on at the time.
The Rodgers Show as it is today is the result of a small beginning, when they showed two steam engines and a few gas engines at the county fair at Elk River, Minnesota.