The Story of the Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion

| March/April 1983

D.D.S. 1324 23rd Street South Fargo, North Dakota 58103

Peter Kieffer's 20 HP Advance-Rumely doing some belt work at the 1982 WMSTR show. This is one of the machines that plows each fall at the show. Peter and Bob Macmillan from Miami, Manitoba, operate the exhibit.

Over Labor Day weekend, September 3-6, 1982, the 29th annual show was presented by WMSTR to a record number of enthused onlookers. Once again the lure of giant steam and internal combustion tractors, threshing, plowing and sawing wood; the sounds and smells of hundreds of gas engines; the silent majesty of the stationary steam engine; the steam locomotive pulling its burden around our newly constructed railroad line; and the smell of good food and display of older pioneer crafts brought 54,000 people to WMSTR's showgrounds.

The Western Minnesota Steam Thresher's Reunion, Inc. was founded 29 years ago on its present site at Rollag, Minnesota, located 35 miles southeast of Moorhead, Minnesota. From those humble but significant beginnings WMSTR has emerged as one of the finest working museums of its kind in this country.

The 1982 reunion was highlighted by the completion of a 10 year rail road project. (See IMA, Vol. 37, No. 1, Sept.-Oct. 1982, page 5). Engine #353 hauled 25,000 people on our 2 mile mainline during the show, thus actively competing with Amtrak!

The Women's Activities Department included in their demonstrations such things as bread, cinnamon roll, lefse and hardtack baking, the making of rommegrot in the pioneer farm log cabin, spinning, weaving, lye soap manufacturing, apple cider making with an old apple press, the grinding of wheat flour with an old mill powered by a steam engine, the dying of wool with natural dyes and a wash day scene complete with Maytag gas-engine-powered washing machine.