The Fourteenth annual Hesper-Mabel Steam Engine Days Show was
held September 8th and 9th, 1973.
Hesper-Mabel Steam Engine Days is really a gigantic community
celebration that takes place when the cities of Mabel, Minnesota
and Hesper, Iowa, together with their surrounding communities join
together to stage this annual gala event.
Sponsors are the Mabel Business Association, the Hesper
Improvement Club, the Farm Bureau, the Farmer’s Union and area
Although Saturday, September 8th and Sunday, September 9th were
designated as dates for the 1973 reunion, Friday afternoon featured
steam engine activity.
The Midway opened with shows and rides at the Steam Engine
grounds. Special reduced ride tickets were available, compliments
of Mabel merchants. At 7:00 p.m.; there was the 4-H Queen Banquet
at the St. Olaf Catholic church basement lounge.
The annual Steam Engine Bowl Football game was held at Mabel
Athletic Field. The kickoff at 7:45 p.m. was between Harmony High
School and Mabel-Canton High School. The two schools competed for
the Traveler’s Trophy. Between halves, 4-H queen candidates
were honored in a presentation.
A Square Dance Jubilee by the Grand Squares area club was held
Friday night at 8:30 p.m. on Mabel Main Street. Free dances were
held on both Friday and Saturday nights at the Mabel Legion
At 3 p.m. Saturday at the stage show site on the grounds, Greg
Wennes was Master of Ceremonies as the Queen candidates were
presented and the coronation of the new queen took place. All
contestants were area 4-H club girls with a special program on
Arlene Peterson was chosen to be the 1973 Queen of Steam Engine
Saturday afternoon and evening, the Prohut family and comedian
Bobby Smith appeared in a stage show. The Mabel First Lutheran High
School choir sang at 7:30 p.m. Sunday evening, the Mabel-Canton
High School Band, directed by Mel Ruehmann, gave a concert. At 10
p.m. Sunday, a 1973 Ford Maverick was given away.
One of the new features was the 3rd Annual Antique Show and sale
at the High School Gym on Saturday, the 8th and Sunday, the 9th.
Sixteen exhibitors from several states participated. Store windows
featured antique displays. The Newburg and Mabel Garden Club had a
flower show in the telephone building.
One thing the Hesper-Mabel show is to be commended for is the
food that was available. From noon on, Bar-B-Q fried chicken was
served on the Mabel Creamery lawn by the Mabel Lions Club. I
don’t know many other places there were but I happened to stop
at one of the church stands where the food was delicious and the
apple pie was really good.
As to activity as I saw it, threshing was in progress with two
threshers in operation being powered by gas tractors.
Lumber sawing was a leading attraction as usual, an 18 HP Rumely
engine furnished the power. Gerhard Larson of Spring Grove,
Minnesota was the engineer. He told me Mrs. Wilma Clauson of Spring
Grove is the owner.
Mr. Leon Vandervort of Tomah, Wisconsin, was operating his
miniature lumber saw with his 3-1/2 HP model case engine. Abe
Lewis, his son-in-law from West Salem, Wisconsin, was operating the
saw. Mr. Vandervort has spent fifty-one years at sawmill work for
Mr. C. D. McCann of 2036 Prospect Street, LaCrosse, Wisconsin
was there with a model traction engine that he built. The engine is
a model Buffalo-Pitts double cylinder. The boiler, stack and deck
are Case. A miniature engine mounted near the stack runs an
electric generator that lights the head light, is wired to and
lights on the rear of the engine as well as a bulb on an aerial
that extends up about 8 or 10 feet from the deck. The engine weighs
1380 pounds and is 5 HP. He also has a model flat top water
A tractor pulling contest was held Sunday afternoon. It was
interesting to see the many tractors the fanners had brought to
Stanley Falada, Rt. 1 Mabel, Minnesota brought his steel Fordson
tractor to town. I believe Ford was building them about 1918.
Stanley was a little timid about showing it but he shouldn’t
be. It’s a good one to own.
I met Warren David of Holman, Wisconsin, who has attended
several Hesper-Mable shows.
‘Welcome Visitors’ the banners read on the storefronts
and the friendly attitude of the people seems to bear out such a
The city of Mable and its south of the border neighbor, Hesper,
Iowa, along with the committee in charge, are to be congratulated
on the fine work they are doing with steam engine days.