My Trip To The West Central Minnesota Steam Engine Club Reunion

| September/October 1957

  • West Central Minnesota Steam Engine Club Meet
    Scene at the West Central Minnesota Steam Engine Club Meet at Ashby, Minnesota. See R. G. Bohman's account of the day.

  • West Central Minnesota Steam Engine Club Meet

Alpha, Illinois

I LEFT HOME AT 8 A.M., Friday morning, October 5, in company with Arnold Post of Lewistown and C. B. Killing of Coal Valley. We arrived at Ashby, Minnesota, scene of the affair, at 1:30 A.M., Saturday morning and sat in the car and slept until the lunch room opened. We got our breakfast and inquired the way to George Melby's farm. The show is put on by George and Ralph Melby and Kenneth Bratvold, who own 7 of the nicest engines that anybody would be proud to own.

We arrived in time to help fire up. I was assigned to the 25 hp. Advance Rumley, a wonderful engine. Mr. Killing to the 25 hp. Gaar Scott, George's pet. We registered about 9 o'clock and I said to the lady in charge, 'I expect we are the only one's here from Illinois.' She said, 'No, somebody is here from Moline.' I said, 'It can't be anybody but Clair Ringle.' I met him a little later and he showed me some of his pictures.

It was a cold, windy day, not much doing in the forenoon. By 2 o'clock in the afternoon about 2000 people were on the grounds and that is when the parade started. After the parade the Advance Rumley was assigned to do the plowing. I knew then my dream had come true as I had always wanted to plow with a steam engine. We hooked up to a 10-bottom plow and started plowing-Ralph Melby steering. The ground was hard and dry, and it sure made the Advance puff I turned on the 1 inch injector when we started and never turned it off until we were done. Several engines were belted up to the prony brake to hear them puff. George's pet, the 25 hp. Gaar Scott, made the best showing. It pulled 106 hp.

By 4:30 o'clock the wind went down so the threshing started. First was the Keystone separator hand feed with an over shot cylinder hand measure, slat stacker, powered by a 20 hp. Nichols & Shepard engine belonging to H. M. Jones, of Little Falls. Next a big Minneapolis 36x60 separator, 1930 model, was pulled in between two large stacks of oats, which, incidentally, made 60 bushel to the acre. It was powered by a 40-year-old 25 hp. Double Cylinder Gaar Scott owned by Melby Bros. The Gaar Scott just loafed along with the big Minneapolis threshing about 10 bushel per minute.

The Ladies Aid of the Lutheran Church in the town of Olaf, served lunch throughout the day and were forced to supplement their supply several times that day.


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