La Motte, Iowa
Reunion reports of the three day celebration of the Mississippi Valley Steam Engine Show held on the Justin Hingtgen farm 12 miles north of Maquoketa, Iowa; 18 miles south of Dubuque, Iowa, on U.S. highway 61, 1963.
The show started with quite a scare of rain. It rained considerably the night before, but cleared up in time Friday morning. By eight o'clock the steamers were puffing heartily. There were approximately 12,000 Bd. Ft. of lumber sawed during the three days of the show. The sawyer was Earl R. Russell of La Motte, Iowa. The Baker fanes were running continually. Of special interest was Harry Wood-mansee of Dawling, Mich who climbed the high ramp three times daily. The engine used for the ramp climbing is owned by Ray Kemerer of Zwingle, Iowa. It was restored by him and is a perfect 15-45 HP Case.
Another fine stunt each day performed by many different engines was the teeter board balancing very ably done by Nelvin Lugten of Hamilton, Mich. A great deal of fun was the belting up contest. The contestants were Harry Woodmansee using a 110 HP Case; Melvin Lugten using a 19 HP Keck Gonnerman; Ralph Woodmansee using a 19 HP Port Huron and Neil Miller using a 19 Port Huron. All the boys did it in record time. Grain was threshed daily with a 50 HP Case engine and a 32' Case machine. They changed over to a 20' Champion Hand Fed straight stacker machine and a 9 HP Case engine. The machine was fed by a gentleman 89 years young-Thomas Coates of Monticello, Iowa.
A 1910 Model 14 bottom plow was used for the plowing demonstration and was pulled with a 110 HP Case. The boys made one round across and back a 40 acre tract of land. Then the 40 HP Undermounted Avery did his stuff for another round. The 110 HP Case was operated by Harry Woodmansee all three days and was fired by Matt Ludwig of Bristol, Wis. on Friday, fired on Saturday by George Hedke of Davis Junction, I11., and by Louis Johnson of Bensonville, I11. on Sunday Louis Johnson also took care of the 40 HP Undermounted Avery all three days of the show. His helper was Elmer Borton of West Lebanon, Ind. on Friday, Le Roy Levine of De Kaeb, I11. on Sat. and Sun. There was a fine crowd of 8500 people on Sunday and estimates were about 5000 people watched the plowing demonstration which many people agreed was one of the main attractions of the show.
Melvin Lugten brought his Veneer mill from Hamilton, Mich. They are seldom seen in Iowa so there was a big crowd around Melvin all three days. Leonard Koppenhaver of Stan-wood, Iowa was one of the busiest men at the show. Lenny was lining up the engines for the parade and many other activities. He was largely responsible for the smooth operation of the show. He in fact got so busy he had to call down to Pinckneyville, I11. for a helper as master of ceremonies. Mr. Everett Pyle did a wonderful job of announcing as he rode around the show grounds in a mobile unit. The on-the-spot coverage contributed much to the enjoyment of the show.
Eldon Coates of Zwingle, Iowa, brought his fine display of antique tractors. Mr. Leon Vandervalt of Tomah, Wis. brought his model engine and sawmill. Mr. Fox of Plottiville, Wis., brought his model engine and train. Joy Hingtgen of La Motte, Iowa had his Case model there. Many people enjoyed the delicious thresher meals served by the La Motte and Zwingle Community Clubs, while they listened to some old time music. One of the players was Golden P. Stewart of Nashville, Tenn. a member of the Grand Ole Opery cast. When Golden wasn't thumping the bass, he was out on the grounds steaming up the 9 HP Case. Most everyone agreed the show was so successful because of the wonderful steam men who participated in putting it on. Mr. Hingtgen is improving the grounds and is trying hard to make the show even better this year.