Farm Collector

It Was A Super Bee In ’73

Butterfield Advocate, Butterfield, Minnesota 56120

MORE STEAM for the 1973 show! This time it was a Locomobile
Steam Car brought to the show by Ed Sundholm of Albert City, la.
The car, an 1899 model, was hand restored two years ago. Parts had
to be hand tooled because they’re obviously no longer
available. Sundholm, who drove the quiet steamer around the
grounds, impressed the crowd with its immaculate restoration. But
he never wandered too far from water. The car gets 1 mile per
gallon of water. Courtesy of Bill Paulson, Butterfield Advocate,
Butterfield, Minnesota 56120

It’s true. As the 7th Butterfield Steam & Gas Engine
Show rolled to a stop Sunday evening nobody who worked at or
visited Voss Park during the weekend could deny it was a super
show. And those who have been to all seven will tell you it was
easily the best.

Saturday, when overcast skies and a gentle breeze swept Voss
Park, had to have produced the finest crowd in show history.
Sunday, when the sky was clear and the sun burned down on the park,
another record-breaking throng attended, making this the best
attended show in history.

Crowd estimates run anywhere from 25,000 to 30,000 with
somewhere in between probably close to the real count. In the
parking lots the attendants Sunday were faced with a steady stream
of cars coming and going so that the lots never were completely
filled, but then cars kept coming after the machinery parade at
2:30, and this has never happened before.

A first tally of gate receipts indicates they will probably top
the 1971 show which had taken in the previous high. But that’s
just a count of the men who paid to get in, and parking attendants
said there were many more cars filled with families than in
previous years. Concession stands, too, reported receipts above
previous highs.

If registrations are indicative of how the show drew people from
all over, then Butterfield is certainly on the map. At the newly
established Pioneer Home there were 2,286 registrations coming from
27 states, six countries and two Canadian provinces. At Engine
House No. 1, where many displays and exhibits were held,
registrations numbered 1,955 including 21 states and four
countries. And no doubt during the peek periods of the show there
were many visitors who didn’t register.

At the Sunday morning church service, where Air Force Chaplain
Dave Valen gave the sermon, the crowd as well as the collection was
easily the largest in history. Chaplain Valen, son of a former
First Lutheran pastor and a Butterfield graduate, traveled to
Butterfield from Andrews Air Force Base, Va., for the occasion.

Exhibits and exhibitors increased in both quality and quantity
from last year, coming from as far away as Illinois (and that, of
course, was Bob Butterfield of Wilmington). At the 1973 show there
were 55 gas engine and tractor exhibitors from out of the
Butterfield area and 21 of them came for the first time. Fifteen
were from Iowa, five from South Dakota, three from Wisconsin and
one each from Nebraska and Illinois. Next to Mr. and Mrs.
Butterfield who drove 530 miles were Mr. and Mrs. Howard Schultz of
Wausau, Wis. who traveled 450 miles to show their model Rumely.

Some scenes from the 1973 Butterfield Steam and Gas Engine Show.
It was their Seventh and best Reunion. Courtesy of Bill Paulson,
Butterfield Advocate, Butterfield, Minnesota 56120

The exhibitors who brought everything from classic cars to an
1899 Locomobile Steam Car were unanimous in their praise of the
show and most promised to return. Comments like, ‘I’ll be
back!’ ‘One of the best shows in the nation!’ ‘The
grounds are great and the people are greater!’ are just a
smattering of what exhibitors told Kit Juhring as he registered
them. (Juhring, Carmel, Cal.’s August gift to the Bee, has made
the information and registration booth his pet project and has
plans to double its size for next year’s show.)

Joel Knudson, who headed the growing antique car and truck
section, had 37 exhibitors displaying. This year visitors could
vote on their favorite and Bob Butterfield was awarded a trophy for
his ‘most popular’ 1932 Auburn classic car. Second place
went to a 1911 Model-A pickup from Sleepy Eye and third place was
taken by Ed Sunderholm, Albert City, Ia., with his fascinating 1899
Locomobile steam car. The vote, we should report, was very close
among the top three.

The machinery exhibits, the threshing, the wood cutting all were
the best they’ve ever been. The 20 acres of oats were
dispatched in efficient fashion by six separators doing the
threshing and powered by everything from Irv Harris’ 35-70
Minneapolis to Garrit Havellar’s scale Massey Harris. The yield
was 75 bushels per acre and that, too, was a new record.

Among the 21 new exhibitors came such new displays as a
miniature saw mill and steamer, a buckwheat mill, many rare gas
engines large and miniature, as well as more tractors. And all
showing the workmanship and skill grown to be expected at the
Threshing Bee.

The displays in Engine House No. 1 were new and numerous, too.
Willis Linscheid showed his butterflies; gals spun wool, made corn
husk dolls, wove rugs, made lese, made rope and even tried to make
soap. The general store and old fashioned kitchen were favorites,
too, with the store doing a brisk business in selling some of the
Bee novelties like homemade soap.

Long lines were ever-present in the doorways of the District 12
school, the Pioneer Church and the Pioneer Home each giving a peek
to visitors of how it used to be.

But of course it was the area folks who really made the show.
More and more they have shown an interest in restoring machinery or
other artifacts of our pioneer past to a point where the
Threshermen’s Assn. who on occasion have wondered if interest
might start dwindling now wonder if the show will ever quit

BTA president Wayne Kispert, who annually suffers his way
through the 2-day show worrying about its problems, could again
only comment on how well things had run. He alluded to the
professionalism of all the local people involved in putting the
show on, feeling this is what makes the show what it is. ‘The
quality was up again this year. We surpassed any previous show.
What else can I say?’

Kispert also had a few kind words about the multitude who turned
out to help clean up the grounds Monday. ‘It was fabulous. If
the grass wasn’t a little stomped down, you’d never know we
had held a show.

So 1973 is history and only the fond memories of the 7th show
exist. Plans and improvements are already starting for the 8th
Annual Steam & Gas Engine Show August 17-18, 1974. Two days
nobody in Butterfield will miss!

  • Published on Jan 1, 1974
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