Final Farm Report 2023
In mid-August, we square-baled the hay at the "Pointe aux Pins" (PaP) site .... formerly referred to as the Bremner Farm. In early September, we turned our attention to our fall grain harvest duties at PaP and our East 50 lease alongside Rg Rd 221. At the PaP site, we had about 12 acres of oats seeded near the west end of the pulling track. We put about two acres of it through our binder and the bundles were eventually loaded into our two hay wagons for storage. We will thresh those at next year's pull event.
In mid-September we swathed 50 acres of barley at the East 50 location and then in early October we harvested that crop and stored the grain in the on-site bins. Then we harvested the remaining 10 acres of oats at PaP and trailered the grain over to the East 50 for storage. Our 2023 grain crops will be sold at a date yet to be determined.
The farm crews finished up by square-baling the straw at the two sites. In early November, the field at the East 50 was cultivated and will be ready for disking and harrowing next spring before seeding. Sales and loading of this year's grain crops will be arranged later at a time to be determined. A big thank you goes out to the members who put in so much time and work this year with our farming efforts.
Harvest Supper & Silent Auction - October 28
We held our 2023 Harvest Super and Silent Auction event on the evening of Saturday, October 28 at the Partridge Hill Hall. This was the latest edition of the event starting off with the first one in 2005 at the Rugby Club in Sherwood Park. This year we had almost 90 show up on an evening that had a subtle touch of winter outside to remind us that summer and fall are definitely over.
The silent auction as usual provided a lot of good-spirited competitive bidding and many took home some interesting treasures. Some of the donated items were selected for an actual "live auction" which we tried for the first time and it worked quite well. A cash bar was available along with a handful of door prizes, a slide show and drone video along with background music. A big thank you goes out to our club members who worked hard to plan, organize and complete the work duties needed for everyone to enjoy the evening.
2023 Tractor Pull and Show - August 26 & 27
We hosted our 18th annual Vintage Tractor Pull & Show on the weekend of August 26 & 27 at Strathcona County's Point aux Pins Acres site (formerly known as the Bremner Farm). We had a record number of pull participants this year with 136 pulls happening on each of the two days of competition in our 10 weight classes.
In addition to the pulling action, there were all sorts of other activities happening to keep visitors entertained. Pony and tractor-powered wagon rides around the site were busy both days. Demonstrations included the threshing of last year's oat crop harvest, a working sawmill, earth-moving equipment in action, working small engines, plus a vintage car, truck, and machinery display area. The kids enjoyed a bouncy castle, our huge sand pile with toys, and train rides around the site. Long lineups were common in the face painting booth.
The big tents housed our silent auction and garage sale fundraisers along with the vendor's tent which offered a wide variety of products for sale. On Saturday night, the silent auction tent was converted into a venue for our annual pull BBQ Rib Supper which was delicious. All in all it was by far our biggest and best show ever with record numbers of people coming through the gates over the two days. A huge THANK YOU goes out to the pull organizing committee and the many worker volunteers who made this year's event such a big success.
Cooking Lake Trail Days - August 19
SVTA club member David Benjestorf stepped up to the plate when the Cooking Lake Community folks were searching for a tractor and wagon to haul passengers from their airport to the Trail Days event site on Saturday, August 19. It was the group's 100th anniversary celebration weekend. David was kept busy with his "newer" John Deere tractor and his wagon, the tractor being a bit newer than the 1960 age cutoff for vintage iron but it did a great job nonetheless. A big thank you goes out to David for helping the Cooking Lake folks out.
Road Tour & Lunch - August 12
After some rain earlier in the week, the weekend arrived with warmer weather for both of our events that were planned back to back, our Road Tour & Lunch plus Fun Pull #3. See all three fun pull reports further down this Current Events page. We had 15 tractors show up early Saturday at the Bremner farm for our annual 2-hour loop northwards ending in Fort Saskatchewan at noon. A bright yellow Minnie and a "less than shiny" grey Ford were near the front of the convoy, and following behind was a nice mix of various shades of red and green vintage iron which made for an enjoyable parade for rural residents as we passed by their driveways.
We enjoyed a great lunch during our noon hour stop at Boston Pizza in the Fort. They always provide great food and cold drinks for us when we park our old iron in the parking lot. An unexpected bonus awaited us this year when club member Ken Krahn covered the whole tab for food and drinks for the 25 individuals who showed up for lunch. Thanks to Ken and Ken Krahn Trucking Ltd. for their generosity, and to Rae MacMillan for once again organizing the event for us.
Galloway Seeds' Breakfast and Display Event - July 26
We participated in Galloway Seeds' annual customer breakfast event on a rainy and soggy morning on Wednesday, July 26. This is the first year in all the times we've been there that the weather wasn't perfect. That however didn't dampen the enthusiasm of our club members who showed up as promised and displayed a nice array of tractors for those in attendance to enjoy. Breakfast was great as usual. Galloways have always put on a tasty spread for everyone who shows up and nobody went home hungry. In addition, another dozen or so members showed up but left their tractors at home so we were able to catch up with some news and gossip.
First in the tractor display line was the Galloway family's Massey Ferguson 35 which was purchased brand new by them back in the 50's. Club members with tractors included Peter Newman (Case 900), Rae MacMillan (Ford Jubilee), Ellis and Yvette Kumpula (two JD 530's), Don Tauber (JD 40), Lou Normandeau (JD A), Al Rice (Oliver 77), Tom Speedie (Ferguson TEF20), Sten Nielsen (Oliver Super 55), and Ernie Shumansky (JD A and an Economy yard & garden tractor).
We also displayed signage and provided information handout sheets for our August Tractor Pull and Show. Thanks to Galloway Seeds and to all of our club members for showing up and supporting community events of this type.
Gibbons Pioneer Days Parade - July 8
A warm and hazy day greeted the eleven tractors which showed for the annual event at Gibbons. Eight from our tractor club plus another three from the area around Gibbons. All participated in the parade and then were spotted in a display area at the museum afterwards. Our tractors included Dean Hood's JD 80, Don Hood's JD 60, Carter Dutka's JD 420, Ty Walsh's Massey Harris 444, Steve Saunders' Cockshutt 50, Gordon Carson's Case LA, Chad McConnell's JD MT, and Dale Schafers' JD model LA. The event was well attended and a good time was had by all.
Fort Saskatchewan Canada Day Parade - July 1
The weather looked promising in the early part of the morning for the Canada Day parade that the City of Fort Saskatchewan hosted for our country's 156th birthday. The rain held off until things were finishing up for those SVTA members who were parade participants. Tractor drivers who stayed around for the downtown display afterwards in Legacy Park weren't quite so lucky, they endured a pretty good soaking, but the rain eventually headed elsewhere for most of the afternoon.
The parade is a huge event, not only in parade entry numbers but in the number of people watching along the parade route. Sherwood Park no longer hosts a Canada Day parade unfortunately and we have moved north with our main focus for Canada's birthday. We had a total of 27 tractors participating with a full spectrum of tractor colours showing up.
Thanks to the City of Fort Saskatchewan for putting on a great event and to all our club members for showing up and enabling SVTA to support community activities in our area.
Ukrainian Village Display - June 25
Our annual trek out east to the Ukrainian Cultural Village's Vintage Days event took place on Sunday, June 25. The weatherman certainly cooperated and we were able to secure our regular shady spot in the display area's grassy south end which makes for an enjoyable day for all. All of the regular attractions that the village has for visitors were open for those who attended. An early breakfast was available along with a tasty Ukrainian lunch menu later on throughout the day. A variety of groups provided musical entertainment as well.
Our old iron on site included a pair of Ford 8N's, two John Deere 530's and twin John Deere BR's. The Cockshutt brand was represented by a model 20, a model 40 and a 'cousin' Co-Op E5. Finishing up the lineup we had a Massey Harris Pony, a David Brown 2D, a Ferguson TEF20, a Farmall A, and two John Deeres including a model 40 and a 1010.
We displayed signage and handed out information sheets for our August Tractor Pull and Show. Everyone had a good time visiting and wandering around the site. A lot of the visitors who dropped by for a look and chat all seemed to have their own farm tractor stories from years gone by.
Ardrossan Parade and Picnic - June 17
The weatherman treated everyone to a break in the wet weather on Saturday, June 17 for our participation in the Ardrossan Rec and Ag Society's 76th anniversary celebrations. Things were busier than usual with the RCMP Musical Ride being in town for two shows. Visitors enjoyed a host of activities including a parade plus horse-drawn wagon rides, farmers market kiosks, displays from local schools and community organizations, food and merchandise vendors, children's activities, a beer tent and all sorts of other fun things to participate in.
Our club had over a dozen tractors and a vintage pickup truck in the parade which started at the high school alongside Rg Rd 222 and then threaded its way through the Ardrossan townsite. We ended up parking in a paved display area near the skateboard park. SVTA had some of our kiddie train cars on site and we provided rides for the youngsters around the parking lot for the duration of the afternoon. The youngsters always enjoy those rides and with the signage on our club's wagon and pull information handouts, we were able to get in some good exposure for our August tractor pull and show. Thanks to all for showing up and keeping our club visible in the community.
FUN PULLS 2023
Our fun pulls started up a number of years ago to give our members the opportunity to give their old iron a workout and to do some fine tuning in a non-competitive situation. These events have become very popular and we usually have two or three every year before our annual Tractor Pull and Show at the end of August. As we move through the season, each fun pull report will be added. Read ahead and see what has happened so far this year.
Saturday, July 8: Another warm fun pull day arrived plus some smoky skies which we are getting used to. We had 26 tractors show up which is about average for our fun pulls. This time it was a "no frills" event so our club didn't host the noon hour lunch & drinks like we usually do. Everyone packed their own and that seemed to work out quite well. The track stood up well and the sled performed flawlessly. We did have an issue with the electronic communications between the sled distance counter and the display sign that we set up for the first time this year. Our pull group will be getting on that right away to make sure things are in working order later on in August.
Saturday, June 10: The dry and windy weather didn't discourage the turnout with 36 tractors on the site along with their drivers plus other individuals who showed up to watch the action. Most drivers managed to get in 3 or 4 pulls which is what the fun pulls are for. It also gave the pull committee an opportunity to test out a couple of recent modifications to the sled that were made. For the noon hour lunch, about 55 individuals enjoyed a great hamburger and hot dog lunch with cold drinks, all hosted by our club. Thanks to Tom Speedie, Al Rice and all their on-track and lunch helpers for putting the event together for us.
Sunday, August 13: On a warm and sunny Sunday, we had about 20 tractors showing up for our third fun pull of the year. The sled worked well and we were able to iron out the connection difficulties between the sled and the display sign which struggled in our early July fun pull #2. But it wasn't all fun and games. We put some of the pullers to work in the north and south hay fields and we took off 840 small square hay bales. It was nice to have some of the younger members available to ride the stook sled behind the baler and get a workout. A big thank you goes out to all who showed up and helped with the pull and the baling.
Spring Field Work Finished - June 1
Bremner Hay Fields - Our hay farming at the Bremner site will be cut back considerably this year for more than one reason. First, both the south and north hay fields are getting on in years and are not expected to yield a great crop. Eventually, both fields will have to be reseeded if our hay farming continues at that site. What will happen this year depends on the new Ag facility which is likely to start up at Bremner with some preliminary construction as early as next month (July). Some of both hayfields will be sacrificed for a new access road and possible contractor equipment and soil storage, etc, Add to that the problem of a very dry spring which might continue into the summer. Whatever happens, we will have to complete one cut before our August tractor pull and show which requires a mowed site.
Bremner West 40 Grain - We were advised earlier in the season that we would be able to farm the entire West 40 land this year with a grain crop and we disked the entire area this spring. Because of the pending Ag facility possibly starting up ahead of schedule, that acreage has been cut back to about 12 acres between the dugout and the south fence. We harrowed that small plot then seeded it into oats and followed that up with a final harrowing in mid-May. We will take that crop off with our binders later on and keep the bundles through next winter for storage on our hay wagons. Last year's oat bundles from the same area will be threshed at this year's tractor pull.
2022 Barley Sales - We sold our 2022 feed barley in May of this year to Viterra grain brokers in Vegreville. It was stored in our bins at Bremner and the East 50 through last winter. A contract trucker filled two B-trains (four trailers total), one from the Bremner site and the other from the East 50. Our grain sales continue to be our club's biggest source of income every year.
This Year's East 50 Barley - Back in April, a day or two of rock picking was completed which is a project that's never a whole lot of fun. We had some purchased seed barley left over from last year's farming efforts and then we used our two fanning mills to clean double that amount of our own barley. Once that was finished up, the entire site was disked and harrowed. On the last day of May, seeding and a final harrowing finished up15 minutes before a rainstorm. That ended the spring work for our farming efforts. A big thank you goes out to all of the workers who put in a lot of hours, including some with their own tractors.
ARAS Safety and Wellness Event - May 6
Our club participated in the Ardrossan Recreation and Ag Society's Safety and Wellness event on Saturday, May 6 at the Ardrossan Rec Center. A wide variety of participants provided visitors with some interesting displays, information and products.
In addition to community groups and clubs, private businesses were also involved with products and services for hobbies, yards & gardens, specialty foods plus health & wellness items. Residential and farm safety information was provided by local groups and clubs who specialize in those areas. Add to that a variety of activities to keep the kids busy made for an enjoyable day.
Ellis Kumpula showed up with his John Deere 530 while Rae MacMillian did the same with a Ford 8N. Wayne Sloat set up his video equipment to show visitors the different activities we are involved with from our farming efforts to vintage tractor pulling. A big thank you goes out to Rae MacMillan for organizing our participation in the event.
Westlock Museum Field Trip - April 22
We had our first field trip of 2023 on Saturday, April 22 when almost 50 tractor enthusiasts made their way north to the Canadian Tractor Museum in Westlock. Some of us traveled on the "team bus" which left from the Bremner farm while the rest drove up on their own. Cunningham Bus Lines provided the bus transport with club member Bill McDonald doing the driving. Once we arrived, we were treated to a delicious pizza lunch from Apollo pizza along with the museum volunteer staff in their meeting room. The tour began after lunch. Some of us chose the guided tour hosted by museum curator Rod McFarlane while others made their way around the site on their own.
The museum facility has over 80 vintage tractors in their inventory, some belonging to the museum with others being on loan from local collectors. The tractors inside the museum are amazing and so are the other displays of toys, collections and a home-built model farmsite and grain elevator. Many of the tractors are types that we would regularly see at our annual pull and show event while some of the display tractors are extremely rare and seldom seen anywhere.
In addition to the collection inside the museum, we were able to wander outside and visit their large storage warehouse, their stationary engine display building, plus the Westlock museum's version of "machinery row". Also at the site was a large collection of tractors that were going onto the auction block the following weekend for the Ritchie Brothers online spring sale. Those were from the estate of the late local tractor collector Albert Miller. Thanks to Bob Beveridge for putting this all together for us. Field trips are great fun and provide a full day's entertainment for those who show up. We'll try to get another one scheduled come fall time to some other interesting location.
2023 General Meetings
Our general meetings started up on the evening of Tuesday, March 21 at the Ardrossan Memorial Hall. The full schedule of all meetings can be seen at the top of this web page. Notice that general meetings are now held on the third TUESDAY of each month. We welcome visitors and guests to attend these meetings and we encourage new members to join up. Information on all of that can be found in the "Membership" section on the home page. Our Annual General Meeting was held on April 18 when a new board was elected with all incumbent members returning. Sid Lyle is new to the group and she replaces Al Rice as treasurer. Al is staying on as a director. The full roster of our 2023-24 board follows:
PRESIDENT: Leo Bilodeau
VICE PRESIDENT: Bob Beveridge
SECRETARY: Val Shillinglaw
TREASURER: Sid Lyle
DIRECTORS: Al Rice, Ellis Kumpula, Les Ducharme, Mike Ballash, Sten Nielsen, Peter Newman, Tom Speedie, Rae MacMillan