Pioneer Day 95

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A 1917 50 HP Sawyer Massey gas tractor ready to join in the parade. Ed Johnson is the restorer and operator.
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One of the threshing demos: a 1914 30 HP Waterloo steamer and a 36-60 Red River Special thresher.
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An early Waterloo Boy tractor heading for the day's events. Slim Olsenberg is the owner operator.

South Peace Centennial Museum PO Box 493 Beaverlodge, Alberta
Canada TOH 0C0

Pioneer Day was once again a huge success but the days and weeks
leading up to the event certainly had organizers’ nerves on
edge. There seemed to be a heavy rain shower every day and everyone
began to wonder how the parking lot would hold the traffic from
sinking into the mud. However as it turned out, the last rain was
on Wednesday so the grounds and parking lot were dry and in great
shape. Pioneer Day was Sunday and luckily all the tractors were
back in their display buildings as the rains resumed Monday

This year we started off with a pancake supper Saturday night
and again Sunday with a breakfast. These were well attended and
greatly enjoyed. Great cooks! Our Pioneer Day is only on Sunday but
it has almost turned into a Saturday/Sunday show as many people
begin arriving Friday and Saturday so they get to see all the final
preparations and operation of tractors and steamers on Saturday.
This is fine with us and all are welcome.

Our 29th annual show featured all the usual events: tractor
parade, shingle sawing, sawmill, steam threshing, gas and hand fed
threshing, planing and demonstrations of the log plane. The log
plane is a very popular event as very few of these planes were
used. All the events went without a flaw and managed to keep right
on schedule. Some of the new additions to the show this year
include a Minneapolis Moline Model U diesel tractor which ran the
shingle mill all day. A 1952 John Deere model AR was just restored
and operated the Dion threshing machine. A Case 15-27 (1919) cross
motor was restored during the winter months and proudly showed its
new paint as it ambled down the parade route. One of the best and
certainly most entertaining models we have ever seen arrived on
Saturday. It is a superb model of a J.D. model D and an
International threshing machine. The tractor is remote controlled
and the operator can control the throttle, steering, clutch and
also make the lifelike driver wave his hand. People could not
believe it as the little tractor drove past and the driver would
wave to them. The owner also did some threshing with the unit later
in the day.

Another machine event was the dynamometer, which Ed Carlson had
repaired so it can be used with either a belt drive or P.T.O. This
was a fun event, a crowd pleaser and good test for the tractors. We
used the Cat D-4 and the 30 HP Waterloo steamers as examples on the
dyno. The horse section of the museum also had new exhibits the
miniature donkeys and horses. Did the adults and children ever
enjoy them! The draft horses did a booming business in providing
wagon rides all afternoon. This was the first opportunity our steam
engineer class had to experience operating the traction engines in
public. They were under the watchful eyes of engineers and they did
a great job in the safe handling of the engines. All candidates
really enjoyed the chance to participate in Pioneer Day and I’m
certain we will get several competent engineers within another

The crowd was excellent again this year, and we noticed how far
many traveled to attend the show. They came from Victoria,
Chiliwack, Prince George, Williams Lake, Southern and Northern
Alberta, Saskatchewan, and many from the United States. That’s
one advantage of living on the Alaskan Highway.

The ladies were very busy as well. The museum has 11 buildings
which all have to be supervised and have events in them. A major
fun event was the fashion show which was done at the bandstand.
Many of the area’s colorful pioneers were acted out by a great
group of ladies from Beaverlodge. The past really came to life with
some of these actors. Circlebank Hall was full of crafts, some of
the craft people coming from Southern British Columbia. Of course
the concession booth, workers booth and the barbeque booth were
very busy and these organizers deserve a huge credit for feeding so
many people.

Early morning steam-up In July 1995. Left to right: 1912 25-75
HP Garr Scott; 1911 25-75 HP Case; 1914 30 HP Waterloo pulling a
36-60 Red River Special; 1914 82 HP Sawyer Massey.

A special attraction this year was our blacksmith who traveled
all the way from Victoria, British Columbia. Skip, and his daughter
Debbie, brought with them a special personality in relating to and
answering questions from the public. He had many fine examples of
his craft for sale, and made many more as the people crowded around
to watch. Blacksmithing is a craft which certainly is attracting a
lot of attention.

This 1996 year is our 30th anniversary. Plans are under way to
make it special and different. Mark your calendar now for the third
Sunday in July. You won’t be disappointed.

‘This is my 1913 Sawyer-Massey steam engine putting on a
spark show at the Huron Pioneer Threshers Association in Blyth,
Ontario, in September 1995,’ says Harley Searson, 239 Oslo
Crescent, Sarnia, Ontario N7S 4J3. Harley’s father George
Sear-son bought this engine in 1928. He was one of the founders of
the Western Ontario Steam Threshers Association in 1957. This
engine’s been putting on spark shows since 1960.

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