Pickett, Wisconsin 1988 SHOW

Route #1, Box 54 Princeton, Wisconsin 54968

The Pickett Community Center’s Second Annual Steam and Gas
Show was held on September 10 and 11, 1988. Pickett, an
unincorporated village, is situated on state highway 44 about 11
miles south and west of Oshkosh and approximately 7 miles north and
east of Ripon.

The weather was superb and the event well attended. Parking
space was more than ample and one could reach the grounds with a
minimum of effort.

Immediately inside, a flea market was in full swing offering
jewelry, toys, catalogs, tools, parts, fancy work, glassware and
the like. On Saturday a pedal tractor pull was conducted for three
weight classes. Nervous competitors and anxious parents and friends
lined the track. At the end of the day the winners were posted.

Class C (51-60 pound class): 1. Sarah Bradley,
2. Sam Thomas, 3. Terin Krumenauer. Class B (61-70 pound
1. Polly Kafer, 2. Chad Smith, 3. Eric Folske.
Class A (71-80 pound class): 1. Jay Kreuziger, 2.
Leo Moffett, 3. Jason Banks.

Nearby, Norm Nohr and Gil Wendland of Route 1, Greenleaf,
Wisconsin had set up their spectacular ‘Farm Display’.
Between compliments from passing spectators, Norm explained that
they had been working at their hobby for about eight years. Gil had
made a gristmill powered by an overshot waterwheel. Together they
have built a farm house, windmill, barn and numerous pieces of farm
machinery such as a plow, grain drill, manure spreader and hay
wagon. Besides the various pieces of farm machinery and the horses
to draw them, Norm and Gil have constructed a hearse, covered
wagons, stage coaches and buggies. The display was prepared for the
Chilton, Wisconsin show, but now the fellows have it mounted on a
trailer so that it can be readily transported from show to

Further on, farm machinery was arranged in parallel lines in an
open field. At one end were three antique Ford cars followed by
numerous gas engines. Among the attention grabbers were Ralph
Myer’s miniature Oil-Pull, Bob and Bill Frolich’s model gas
engines and Dennis R. Lefever’s 1? HP ‘Little Jumbo’
built in 1915. Dennis found it on a farm, back in the woods. At one
time it had been used to pump water. Besides this engine he had an
IHC, a Fuller-Johnson and a Fairbanks. He did not say how many
engines he owned, but the Frolichs have at least thirty.

Gene Reisen of Ripon had several gas engines and a Maytag washer
with a gas engine that did not want to start. Gene said that when
he married he told his bride that he had a washing machine for her.
‘I took her to the garage and showed her a 1924 gas driven
Maytag’. Mrs. April Reisen is secretary of the Pickett

One of the most unusual small engines, belonging to Bert Gordee
of Stevens Point, Wisconsin, was taken from an airplane used in
World War II to stage radio controlled targets for the pilots to
shoot down.

Many farm tractors were on display: Farmall, Cockshutt, Co-op,
Fordson, Case, Hass, Minneapolis-Moline, Allis Chalmers, Oliver and
John Deere. The last named were probably the most numerous. Eugene
Schumacher, treasurer of the Club, had his 20-40 Advance-Rumley
Oil-Pull in place. This type G tractor (number 2895) at one time
was the property of his grandfather. Perhaps the most rare tractor
was a 1933 tri-wheel Fordson that William Gomoll was showing. It
was manufactured in England and still has its original pneumatic

Somewhere near the middle of the field of machinery, 79 year old
Pat Schmallenberg of Shawano, Wisconsin was operating his shingle
mill. His father began sawing before the turn of the century and
the mill was a family enterprise for many years. For the past
twenty years Pat has been taking his shingle mill to steam and gas
shows and to Farm Progress Days. He began at the age of twelve as a
bundle packer. When he took over the operation of the mill he had a
crew of seven men and sometimes they would saw a hundred bundles
per day. One man did the hauling, another cut blocks from which the
shingles were made. A third fired the steam engine. Four men worked
about the saw. Pat can still make the shingles fly and in all his
years, he declared, ‘I never lost a finger’.

Moving on from the shingle mill to the saw mills, one found that
Tony Stadtmueller, vice president of the Pickett Club, had built a
model saw-mill that he powered with a model Case steam engine. In
terms of size his outfit stood in sharp contrast to that operated
by Marvin Rustad of Cottage Grove, Wisconsin.

Marvin has owned several saw-mills. This particular one was a
United States Marine Corps surplus, the kind the Corps had employed
over-seas during World War II. He has sawed with this mill at
numerous shows. More than fifty steam engines have been tested on
it. On this occasion Dan Moehrke’s 1919 Advance-Rumely steam
engine was used.

Another center of activity was the model and full size threshing
rigs. Mike Kolb had a half scale 20-40 Rumely Oil-Pull belted to
his model Case separator. At the end of the grain spout stood a
neat little farm wagon that received the grain. John Sell of
Brillion, Wisconsin was running his model threshing outfit
comprised of a Case separator and a Rumely Oil-Pull. Sell has
constructed a small steam Case engine of which he is rightfully

The crowd began to collect around Wyman Boettcher’s Illinois
steam engine when he opened the throttle and the wheels began to
turn on Everett Patzlaff’s 28×46 McCormick Deering thresher.
Everett, who resides in Pickett, has had this separator since 1974
and has threshed with it each year since. An Avery 28×48, belonging
to Larry and Tom Buehring, stood nearby awaiting its turn.

Wyman Boetcher’s Illinois engine was manufactured in
Sycamore, Illinois by a firm established by William N. Rumely of
the famous Rumely family of Laporte, Indiana. This 20 horse engine
was built before 1920 and was used at first by the Valders Canning
Company of Valders, Wisconsin to power its pea viners. Eventually
it was replaced by another source of power and was sold for $50.00.
It passed through at least two other hands before it was purchased
by Wyman in the early 1970’s for $3,000. This purchase, he
jokingly remarked, nearly caused his wife to divorce him. Judging
from what one hears at these shows this is not an uncommon threat
on the part of wives married to collectors of steam and gas

Wyman Boettcher is most ably assisted by his son, Carl. Not only
is Wyman forming a strong bond with his twelve year old son, he is
assuring us all of at least one more generation of steam engineers
to carry on a grand tradition.

There were many other items that engaged the attention of those
in attendance, but unfortunately only a few can be mentioned. Among
these were a rock crusher, bailer, bucksaw, corn Sheller,
grindstone, grain binder, antique garden tractors, chain saws,
washing machines, motor scooters, outboard motors, bicycles,
tricycles, lawn mowers and model farm wagons. These may seem less
significant to some, but as Daniel Webster might have said,
‘There are those who love them’.

Walking about and viewing the many worthwhile things to be seen
is certainly one of the chief reasons for attending a steam and gas
show. But it is not the only one. There is the renewing of previous
acquaintances, such as those with Frank Howe of Nashota and Art
Hess of Van Dyne, Wisconsin. And the making of new ones with people
like Richard Sauer and Art Tomm. Richard, from Oak-field, Wisconsin
can tell you about band cutting when some threshers still did not
have self-feeders. Remembering his early experiences he sighed,
‘I could sit all day and listen to a steam engine’.

Art Timm enjoys telling about tending an Advance-Rumely
separator for nine years with only a 30 minute delay in all that
time. His career as a farm machinery salesman spanned several years
selling the Cockshutt and Massey-Harris lines. Among the more
significant events in his full life was participating in the
brigade of self-propelled combines that harvested various grain
crops from Texas to Canada during World War II and which has been
described so well by Merrill Denison in his book, Harvest
Triumphant. He also remembers with fondness the American
Threshermen’s Association and its policy that forbade members
from threshing for any farmer who had refused to pay his threshing
bill of the previous season.

So, all in all, it was a worthwhile and most enjoyable affair.
The Pickett Steam and Gas Show is growing and it was not uncommon
to hear people speaking of plans to attend or to exhibit again next
year. If you would like information regarding the 1989 show you may
write: Larry Buehring, president, 6860 Clairville Road, Oshkosh,
Wisconsin 54901.

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment