2023 News

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


DIRECTORS: Al Rice, Ellis Kumpula, Les Ducharme, Mike Ballash, Sten Nielsen, Peter Newman, Tom Speedie, Rae MacMillan

2022 News

Final Farm Report for 2022
Since our early spring seeding and the first cut of hay in early July, a lot has happened at both the Bremner site and also at our East 50 lease alongside Rg Rd 221.  We grew a few acres of oats beside the barley at the Bremner West 40 land this year to put through the binder at our pull & show demonstration.  Those bundles are now stored on wagons in the quonset at Bremner and will be threshed out at next August's pull & show event. 

We finished up our 2022 haying efforts at the north and south hay fields at Bremner with our second cut happening near the end of August.  Most was baled into large rounds along with a few small squares as well.  Because of dry conditions and the fact that those hay fields are starting to age, the second crop was not a particularly productive one.  Meanwhile, the barley crops on our West 40 at Bremner and the East 50 were growing relatively well despite the dry summer.  In September, a dedicated crew of about a dozen members tackled the barley crops at both locations.  Both crops were swathed and after a week of drying, the harvest began.
Things were speeded up considerably this year with our purchase of a new-to-us Massey Ferguson 540 combine that was kept in immaculate shape by the original owner.  We also used one of our own John Deere 95's along with a new PTO-driven grain auger and grain wagon that we purchased.  We also purchased a couple of used grain bins in very nice shape, both of which were spotted at the East 50 and will be put to use next year.  We square-baled about 1600 small barley straw bales at the East 50 after the harvest while the barley straw from Bremner's West 40 was round baled.

On Thanksgiving weekend, a crew showed up with their own tractors and with member-owned and club plows, they turned over the land at the East 50 in preparation for next year.  That land is tough going for the plows with the compacted soil along with a collection of rocks that only a geologist could love.  The West 40 at Bremner was left as-is after the harvest due to the uncertainty of what is happening at Bremner next year with Strathcona County's plans for an Ag Facility of some type.  As the last day of October arrived, a group of members showed up at Bremner and tucked away some of our equipment into the quonset for winter storage.

2022 Harvest Supper & Silent Auction - November 5
The arrival of some blustery wintery weather earlier in the week didn't dampen the spirits of the 85 hardy souls who showed up for our 2022 Harvest Supper & Silent Auction on the evening of Saturday, November 5.  It was our first year-end event since 2019 when the Covid 19 pandemic was just gathering steam.  The Partridge Hill hall was again the venue and proved to be a perfect setting for a crowd of that size.

We didn't have any live entertainment this year, but some relaxing background music complimented a great slide show which allowed those in attendance to visit and catch up on all the gossip and news.  Bob Beveridge headed up the planning and organizing again and he was helped by volunteers who handled door and ticket sales, liquor purchases and bartending, silent auction, music, slide show, door prizes, MC duties, and clean up at the end of the evening.  

As in past years, catering was handled by Gail and Ed Hryniw and they provided a tasty and hearty supper offering of roast beef & fried chicken plus all the trimmings along with desserts.  We doubt very much if anyone went home hungry.  As usual, the most exciting part of the evening was our silent auction fundraiser which offset some of the extra costs that our club incurs in hosting the event.  Spirited and competitive bidding made for some interesting auction wins.  Some in attendance went home with door prizes as a little bonus.  The cash bar service quenched the thirst of those who were able to choose from a menu of beer, wine, coolers or soft drinks.

Rae Schmidt & Family Tour and Fundraiser - October 22

About 50 SVTA members plus other invited guests showed up for the Schmidt family's Open House and Fundraiser on Saturday, October 22, so the place was really buzzing and busy.  Ray and sons Chris, Brad, and Jeff worked through the week along with a handful of SVTA club members in order to get Ray's large collection of John Deere vintage tractors displayed in his beautiful yard in Sturgeon County.

Ray's collection is one that anyone would be proud to display and one of the largest of its kind of working and running restored John Deere iron.  It seemed that there were JD models of every shape and size on display.  Ray's shop and storage buildings were also open for business with all kinds of treasures and agricultural memorabilia being available for inspection.  Add to that a good number of 'parts tractors' and 'future projects' in the yard that are waiting to donate parts or to be a full restoration some day.  When the noon hour rolled around, we were treated to a fantastic pizza lunch and cold drinks compliments of the family. 

The day was not just a tour but a fundraising endeavour initiated by the Schmidt family.  Everyone in attendance contributed donations and then Ray and the boys matched everything that was collected dollar for dollar. When all the dust settled with the collections and the matching, the Schmidt family ended up sending off a $10,700 donation to the Cross Cancer Hospital through the Alberta Cancer Foundation.  A big thank you goes out to Ray and his family and all of those who showed up to make it so worthwhile.