| January/February 1999

'I will also throw in some photographs of Carl Mehmke's plowing day, which was held the next Friday, September 18. Attending that show from Michigan were John Schrock and Graham Sellers. Our California contingency, headed by Dean Ailing, was there again. We had a beautiful day for the plowing bee, which was well attended by many. The licensed steam engineers of the Montana Steam Organization held their annual meeting after the show, chaired by president Dick Tombrink. Western Montana boiler inspector Ray Smith was there representing the State Department of Building Codes. The steam engines fired up were the usual engines: the 32 HP Case, 110 HP Case, 75 HP wide wheeled plow engine, 20-70 Nichols & Shepard, and the 18 HP Case portable. Carl Mehmke has many fine 'toys,' so the gas boys got to have a good time, too. Some of the gas engines fired up were the 30-60 Aultman-Taylor, 40-80 Avery, 30-60 Flour City, 25-50 (I thinkI'm not much of a gas man) Minneapolis, the single cylinder Hart-Parr, and the Square Turn. Dick Tombrink sent me a videotape of both the NWAPA and the Mehmke shows. Dick does a very fine job of taping. One view of the Mehmke plow day was of four engines and plows plowing in a row. I only wish that 1 had a photograph of that scene to send you. 1 was running the 75 HP Case, so I did not get to take any plowing pictures.

The 20-70 Nichols & Shepard, 110 HP Case, 32 HP Case and 75 HP Case plow engine at Carl Mehmke's plowing show in September.

Newcomer and guest engineer Jake Williams of Oceanside, California, stands beside Carl's 20-70 Nichols & Shepard. This was his first experience running a double cylinder engine. He said he would be 'forever spoiled.'

'I am also sending you another photograph of a steam engine furnishing the pulling power to cut grain, for Larry Creed to examine. It is of Lyle Hoffmaster and my favorite type of engine the Reeves. This is a picture of Frank Strouf's 40-140 Canadian Special in 1912 pulling a combined harvester on his huge Wolf Creek farm north of Denton, Montana, in the Judith Basin. Frank can be seen in the business suit and hat at the end of the 35 foot header. Frank Graves was the engineer. Frank also owned a 40-120 U. S. model Reeves and the more I investigate, I believe he owned two U. S. 40s. I have gotten in contact with Roland Fulbright, Frank's grandson, of Great Falls, and have found a gold mine of pictures for my book. I copied and returned the pictures to Roland at Carl Mehmke's plowing day in September. The Frank Strouf chapter of my book will be a great one!

'I am sure you will be getting many fine show stories and pictures for upcoming editions, so I will keep this short. I always enjoy the stories sent you by our many friends around the country.'

Speaking of the Mehmkes, how many of you out there also subscribe to National Geographic Magazine? If you do, don't miss pages 62-63 of the October 1998 issue, where you'll see a really great farm scene photographed by Robb Kendrick. The photo shows a fleet of combines harvesting wheat on the Walter Mehmke farm in Montana. No steam, but a great picture from the farm of someone you may know! It appears in an article entitled 'Feeding the Planet,' an interesting piece on how to meet the food supply needs of a growing world population.