St. Cloud, Minnesota 56301
Last October 6 and 7, 1973, I went to see Vouk's Steam Engine Show, in the village of St. Stephen, Minnesota, which is about fourteen miles northwest of St. Cloud, Minnesota.
For the last four years I have visited this good show, which is many shows in one. Besides the several steam engines and gas tractors running, there are grain threshing, corn shredding, and lumber sawing demonstration, operated mostly by big Case steam engines and Minneapolis and Twin City gas tractors.
This show is mostly owned and run by William Vouk, Sr., and his sons and neighbors. It started in 1965 partly because William Vouk's brother-in-law urged him to put on a grain threshing demonstration in October that year. It has grown a lot since then and every year it has become bigger and better, and attendance is growing, too.
Besides the grain threshing, corn shredding, lumber sawing, and wood splitting, there are several others, like antiques and antique cars, also, a blacksmith shop. Music and eats are furnished on the grounds.
A steam engine and tractor and thresher parade is also put on daily in the afternoon around the grounds. This show usually is a two-day show on a Saturday and Sunday in October, and last year there were three to four thousand in attendance.
This show is no doubt the best private one now of its kind in Central Minnesota, and it is growing every year. One year lately, it drew visitors from seven nearby states.
As I stated above, this show is mostly put on annually by William Vouk, Sr., and his sons and neighbors, or as follows:
Mr. William Vouk, Sr., and Sons, furnish and run one 80 hp. Case and one 65 hp. Case steam engine and one 35-70 Minneapolis and one 40-65 Twin City gas tractors and three grain separators, etc.:
Henry Lahr, of nearby St. Joe, Minnesota, was in charge of grain threshing demonstrations and he furnished one 40 hp. Case steamer and one hand feed grain separator;
Harley Eberhart of nearby St. Cloud showed his 45 hp. Case steamer, belted to the lathe mill.
Joe Logas, of Buffalo, Minnesota, showed his 16 hp. Advance steamer, belted to a 28 in. Huber Separator.
Walter Dehn, of Rogers, Minnesota, showed his 16 hp. Case steamer and gave rides for the kids.
Oscar Anderson, of St. Cloud, Minnesota, operated the old time blacksmith shop on the grounds, and the Legatt Brothers were in charge of corn shredding;
Fred Fiedler, of St. Cloud, was the expert in charge of log and lumber sawing by a big Case steamer;
John Goldsmith, of Amery, Wisconsin, showed several small gas engines.
Ted McCann of LaCrosse, Wisconsin showed his scale model Double Cylinder Steam Engine;
George Mochinski, of Winsted, Minnesota had his scale model there, too.
William Vouk and Sons also showed their big stationary 480 hp., 4-cylinder, upright steam engine or the power plant, formerly used in the local St. Cloud hospital. They also showed and ran their big 35 hp. 'Ingeco' gas engine on wheels or horse drawn.
Summing up, there were eleven steamers and ten gas tractors in operation. Three grain threshers were in daily operation threshing grain bundles from ten stacks of grain, and of course, many visitors helped pitch the bundles of grain into the grain separator feeders for the thrill of it, while others watched the grain and straw come out of it.
Three new big metal buildings have been built in the last years to house the antique autos and trucks, other antiques, and farm machinery exhibits.
This year, Mr. Vouk and Sons have bought and moved on to their grounds a 100-year old two-story 30 X 20 log cabin home of pioneers. This purchase, moving, and restoration will cost over $5,000.00.
This is the threshing crew of Norman Gervais and sons. He threshed in the 1920s in the area surrounding Grano, North Dakota. The threshing crews followed him through the area going from farm to farm. Picture taken September 1, 1928. The owners of the threshing rig were relatives of the Philip Yerbick family who reside at Puposky, Minnesota. Courtesy of Boy Kendall, 2505 Calihan Avenue, Bemidji, Minnesota 56601
So you see that William Vouk and Sons are doing a worthwhile work here in Central Minnesota. Their admission charges for this Pioneer farm machinery show have always been reasonable. They are also interested in preserving and showing how our pioneers lived. Their show is both educational and entertaining and well run.
Golden agers and students are urged to attend. These shows, whether called Steam and Gas Engine Shows, or Grain Threshing Bees, are especially educational for farmers' sons and agricultural students. So I considered my day's visit here well spent and I plan to come again next year.