L. to r. C. E. Purdie, Smoky Cross and Elsner Machacek. - Looks like they re solving a lot of problems at the Rice County Steam Show.
1025 S.W. 2nd Street, Faribault, Minnesota 55021.
Steam cylinder oil was in the air and many people remembered days gone by of hard work and lots of sweat; but many more people remembered days gone by of a love of the land and a togetherness that is not found today in our age of mechanization. Farmers banded together against the elements are what steam days were all about.
Once again, steam was in its' glory on September 6, 1976, on a farm outside of Warsaw, Minnesota. On that beautiful fall day, thousands of people gathered to view the massive Minneapolis engine owned and operated by Fred Berndt of Morristown, and the 50 hp. Case engine of C. E. Purdie, of Faribault, easily run the separators of by-gone days, threshed over 20 acres of oats. Despite the dry season in Minnesota, the oats yielded over 60 bushels per acre.
Visitors were treated to a day of nostalgia in buggy rides given by Chuck Thurber and Bud and Jim Cate. A team of llamas delighted both the young and the young at heart compliments of the State Bank of Faribault and Mr. Ervin Smith of St. Peter, Minnesota.
Old tractors were on display as were old farm implements. Dennis Waskosky and his son Mark, collectors and restorers of gas engines, displayed a large assortment of models and also demonstrated corn shelling with an antique sheller. The Waskosky girls also got in the act with their demonstration of rope making and their help in the flea market area.
Warren Shevlin displayed his 1908, 12 h.p. International tractor, and Ron Salaba, Roman Kalina, and Butch and Larry Malecha also had a very large display of gas engines. Joe Cross, an avid steam and gas engine lover, also displayed several gas engines.
A large static display of farm equipment of days gone by was displayed by Rueben and Loren Dahle, on whose farm the event was staged.
Smoky Cross and his son, Terry, demonstrated and gave rides on their self-propelled, 5 h.p., vertical boiler steam engine of their own design. The engine and boiler were salvaged from a creamery and mounted on 1954 Chev. axles. When Smoky first acquired the boiler, it was a plumber's nightmare. Now, it is a fantastic piece of beauty in its' own right. They were assisted in the operation of the steam car by Todd Voge, 9 year old grandson of Smoky, who set many old timers back on their heels with his knowledge of the operation of the engine. Steam runs in the Cross family.
Elsmer Machacek exhibited his 1/3 scale model of a 65 h.p. Case tractor which has won many ribbons at county fairs. It has been on display at numerous exhibits in the area and is always a favorite as it chugs along under its' own power.
Tom Voge displayed his 1/30 scale model of a 65 h.p. Case engine that took him over two years to complete and is also self-propelled. All of the parts were machined by hand and it is now a valuable collectors item.
Art Voge ran the makeshift blacksmith shop and was kept busy making horseshoes for the spectators. They made nice remembrances of that special day in the lives of many people. Terry Voge, Art and Smoky's six year old grandson had the job of keeping the forge hot.
Lunch was in the hands of the North Morristown Lutheran Church and a traditional thresherman's dinner was held in a big tent.
It seems amazing how these men, women, and even children can take a period of history and turn it into an event of today. How can they see through the rust and dirt to rebuild a piece of American history machinery into like new and original equipment. Steam and gas engines have not been forgotten in the hearts and minds of many people in the Faribault area if the second annual Steam Days were any indication. It is a part of history that has etched itself into the lives of everyone concerned, and contrary to what people may think, STEAM IS HERE TO STAY!!!