1511 Iglehart Avenue, St. Paul, Minnesota 55104
August 26 and 27 were the dates of the 1978 Steam and Pioneer power show. The show was held on the Dave Preuhs farm, 8 miles east of LeSueur, Minnesota.
The scheduled weekend turned out to be a real wet one. Light showers kept things damp on Saturday with a sort of breaking away in the afternoon, when some activity managed to surface.
Saturday night a heavy deluge came that reached from the Le Sueur area, where it struck the hardest, to the Minneapolis-St. Paul southern extremities, where cars became totally submerged on at least one highway. At LeSueur, on Sunday morning and throughout the day, conditions were deplorable. Cars were stuck between the highway and the show site, with tractor operators busy pulling them out.
The show grounds are on higher ground than most of the area but the muddy heavy soil of Green Giant fame stuck to footwear just too much for the enjoyment of those who wanted to see things. And there is plenty to see from a fine grove of oak trees well filled with popping gas engines back to the open space of ground where Mike Kovic of Jordan, Minnesota had his lumber saw setup using his recently overhauled big Lawson tractor for power.
Joe Shelly of St. Peter, Minnesota, owner of a 22 Hp Advance engine and long associated with steam shows, was on hand operating a 28 HP Minneapolis engine, loaned to the show by the Budenski Brothers of West Concord, Minnesota. This engine was owned by the late Ed Budenski.
Irwin Morrell of the Scott-Carver show brought his 16 HP Advance engine. His nephew, Dennis Ames, was the engineer.
Saturday afternoon the weather permitted David Preuhs to bring out his 32 x 44 Nichols & Shepard hand feed, slat stacker 'Vibrator' separator. He purchased it in July 1978 at the Archie Stevens estate auction at Millville, Minnesota. Built in 1875, the serial number is 7909. Belted to Mr. Morrell's Advance engine, it threshed a load of dy oat bundles brought from a shed. William Eihlers of New Prague, Minnesota fed the machine.
While browsing around the gas tractor exhibit, where I noticed several two-and three-plow steam several two-and three-plow Hart Parr tractors owned by Dave Preuhs. I was attracted by loud exhaust coming from a model steam traction engine, which I happened to be standing close to at the time. Then I noticed the cause of its labor. It was belted to a 15-30 Rumely tractor which had refused to start by hand cranking. When the belt pulley on the tractor was engaged the little steamer really worked hard as it finally proved equal to the occasion when the big single cylinder Rumely, after sending up clouds of black smoke, began to exhaust. After a loud series of reports, it settled down to the 'thump, thump' sound of exhaust these engines were famous for. I heard one on different occasions when it was two miles away. Close up the sound of the exhaust of this tractor was not disagreeable but for some reason, the sound carried to a distance almost unbelievable. The tractor is from the Budenski collection, with Mr. Lentz of Pine Island, co-owner. The steam engine is a model Advance traction engine built by Max Borchert and it was in care of Dave Borchert of Kasota, Minnesota in the St. Peter area.
Back in the grove, I enjoyed a chat with Eisner Machacek of Northfield, Minnesota who brought his scale model 65 HP Case steam engine. His grandson, John Machacek, takes loving care of the little master-piece, and Eisner says he'll be getting an engineer's license soon as he is old enough.
The Alois VonBank drag saw from the Jordan, Minnesota show was being operated by a young lady who cut souvenirs from oak logs.
The exhibit of gas engines ran in size from 1 to 25 HP portable, a 20 HP portable engine, and a saw rig for cutting stove wood, plus a large exhibit of small sized engines, some as large as 7 or 8 HP.
It is regrettable that the weather failed to cooperate with the LeSueur show in 1978, but we can rest assured that Dave Preuhs and his associates will promote a good show next time.