Greetings to all members & friends of the Western Minnesota Steam Threshers and to all steam threshers everywhere. Another year and another reunion is now history and memories. For us at Rollag, Minnesota, 1963 was a good year and we had a great reunion. More people came to our four day festivities this year than ever before and there were more exhibits and more action and everybody seemed happy to be there.
For those of us who try to do our part in making these reunions worthwhile, this is most gratifying. Aside from being our greatest reunion at Rollag; 1963 saw the completion of two new buildings under the supervision of Lawrence Fisch, one of our directors.
One of these buildings was used by two Ladies Aids for a dining hall, while the other one, a forty by eighty structure housed the antique cars brought in by the Fargo Moorhead Antique Car Club. For this addition to the show we are thankful to Sid Blakeway, a member of the club and we hope it will be a regular feature at our reunions from now on.
We enjoyed four days of nice weather at our show and the attendance increased each day and broke all records on Sunday, the last day when an estimated thirty thousand people viewed the event.
Robert Moe, who again brought his buses there, to bring the people to and from the out lying parking areas reported they were so busy, they hardly had time to eat.
Another big project last year, was the clearing of a timberland called the Neperud Trail, through the woods around the building area. This greatly increased our parade route and made it more interesting as the smoke from the old engines curled up through the overhanging branches. The clearing of this trail was spearheaded by John Neperud, N. B. Nelson And Ellsward Grahn with several other local members helping out. More clearing will be done along this trail this year to give the people a better view of the parade as it passes through.
All the proud old steamers and their engineers were in the act again this year; along with dozens of gas tractors of all sizes, makes and descriptions. Elmer Larson, had about a dozen on display and all beautifully restored and in action. Miniatureland attracted its share of attention with attention with threshing rigs, sawmills and railroading, all in action.
Out on the field, we threshed 15 stacks of grain hauled in by Leonard and N. B. Nelson and scores of logs were sawed into lumber and some of it run through the planning mill while some was processed into laths in the lath mill, all owned and operated by Ellsward Grahn. John Neperud was kept busy sawing shingles on his shingle mill and they all went for souvenirs.
Our Saturday evening entertainment was well attended and of good quality and as usual headed by our ingenious Orville Ellingson.
It will be hard to improve on a show like we had this year, but our president, Stanley Ellingson is always looking for more interesting exhibits, sol believe we can look forward to bigger and better reunions each year.
Much of the effort of the thresher-men this season will be directed to the building of a museum on the grounds. This structure will be made of logs with a fireplace at one end so it can be used as a comfortable meeting place for the members of the organization. Last fall, Grahn and Frisk accompanied me on an excursion into the tall timber country of northern Minnesota where we contracted a firm that was able to supply the logs for this building, and they have probably arrived on the grounds by this time.
As it must to all men come, sooner or later, death come to one of our charter members and a former vice-president, Carl C. Johnson of Lake Park, Minnesota. He died last fall, after a lingering illness. Mr. Johnson enjoyed the reunions very much and his morale and material support can not be overestimated. He was not able to attend the last one, but sent his greetings through Pastor Virgil Anderson, who spoke the sermon at our Sunday morning divine service.