1025 S. W. 2nd Street, Faribault, Minnesota 55021
The hard work was over and now it was time for the fun. Everything was in order for a big day and a big show. The wood was stacked, the engines lined up, the steamers were steaming and the crowd was getting bigger by the minute. The 4th Annual Rice County Steam and Gas Engine Club threshing bee and exhibition was underway.
It was a very hot Labor Day, 1978, in Little Chicago, Minnesota, and there wasn't a breeze to be found anywhere. To the 1,000 plus people who attended this year's show, the weather was not a factor. This exhibition is the best in the area and the largest ever for Rice County.
The members of the club had worked for months planning and dreaming for this one big day. Frank Malecha and his sons, Larry and Butch, put forth an effort matched by none in readying their land for the event. Their cooperation and their large exhibit of tractors and equipment all helped to add to the show's success. They displayed a number of separators, including a 1914 36 x 62 Minneapolis wooden wing feed; a 1914 Nichols and Sheppard wood, and a 22 x 38 International. Also, the Malecha's displayed a 16-30 Hart Parr tractor and 15 other tractors of various makes, several gas engines, and a very large walking plow exhibit.
C. E. Purdie had his two 50 HP Case steam traction engines running the separators. His engines are in tip top shape and he has reason to be very proud of them. They have been perfectly restored by Mr. Purdie himself with assistance from Smoky Cross, Vern Juaire and Terry Cross.
Lloyd Wolters had a chance to display the 1914 20-60 Case steam engine that he recently purchased. He's a very happy man with his new 'toy.'
Smoky Cross and his son, Terry, had a fine display of gas engines. The hard work they put into restoring all of their engines really showed though in the quality of their exhibit. Especially interesting in their display was the 5 HP vertical steam engine that was belted to the lathe mill, and run by Joe Cross.
Butch Waskosky and his son Mark, daughters Nancy, Karen, and Kathy, put forth a tremendous amount of effort in their display of many beautifully restored gas engines, tractors, and old time implement seats. Butch also has an arrowhead collection that is second to none. His is one of the finest collections in the state. The 1979 show will see this unique family displaying one of the last of the lightweight Rumely Oil Pull tractors in working condition.
Clem Hammer had a very large and unusual display of animal traps; from the smallest mouse trap to a huge bear trap, plus a pelt from each of the animals the trap was designed for. Clem is also our publicity and promotions manager, and what a fine job he does!
Olaf Torkelson has a perfectly detailed working miniature saw mill and a huge steam whistle that he displayed. This whistle is so large that even the 60 HP Case of Lloyd Wolters could not put out enough steam to fully blow it. It is about 16' in diameter by 40' tall.
Bud and Jim Cate had a nice display of very old farming equipment the likes of which one rarely sees today. They even offered many of the items on display for sale.
As usual, the ladies attending the event all enjoyed the large flea market. It is also a favorite with many of the men, as they often find some piece of equipment or some small tool that was just what they had been looking for.
Skip Voge and her mother, Betty Cross, had a busy day at the old fashioned pop corn stand. They used old fashioned crank type poppers and the corn was great!
Terry Cross set many an old timer on their heels when his engine developed a leak in the tube. Everyone thought he was done steaming for the day, but he was wise to the ways of the old timershe simply found a chunk of stove wood and hammered it into the tube and was steaming again in just a short time. It really made the old timers shake their heads, cause Terry is only 29 years old. I guess they didn't think the younger generation knew about their old tricks.
Mac Machacek is always a favorite with his 1/3 scale model Case engine. Mac is a real showman and his engine is truly a work of art. 1979 hopefully will bring Mac a little competition in Joe Cross. Joe is a fine engineer and an excellent machinist and he is in the final stages of assembly on a 1/4 scale model Case tractor. Joe is a perfectionist, so his engine should be a beauty.
Curly Schreckenberg is responsible for the antique cars that run around the grounds. Curly is a Plymouth man and his cars are the finest around.
Tom Voge also had on display his 1951 Chevrolet that is in the process of being restored. He said that he is looking for transplants for the surgery that he is performing on the car.
Ron Salaba displayed a large amount of equipment. The crowd enjoyed his plowing exhibition.
Walter Graham is our stack man and the grain stacks that he made could easily be called sculptures instead of stacks. A picture of his work could be the centerfold of a farming magazine.
The Rice County Steam and Gas Engine Club is a non-profit organization that hopes to further the interest of antique and classic farming ideas of the past. It is the hope of the members to preserve through the young the ways of the old. The 1979 show will be a bigger event than ever. It will be a two-day long show and it is hoped that it will draw people from all over the upper midwest.