We are well into our 14th year since our incorporation as a non-profit society in the spring of 2005. Things are moving full speed ahead at Bremner in preparation for our 2018 edition of our Western Canada Vintage Tractor Pull & Show on August 25 & 26. In addition, our hay and grain crops are growing and we still have a lot of work to do before putting everything away after the fall work is finished up. Read along and catch up with what's been happening and make note of upcoming dates and events on your home calendar.
GENERAL MEETINGS REMAINING 2018 - A quick reminder that we hold our monthly general meetings at the Ardrossan Memorial Hall on the third Wednesday of each month. Things kick off at 7 PM and we encourage all members to attend. We welcome guests and visitors as well. Remaining dates this year are July 18, August 15, September 19, and October 17. General meetings are not held in November, December, January or February. Next year in 2019, general meetings begin again on the 3rd Wednesday of March.
MEMBERSHIPS - Our membership renewals are an ongoing process every year. At the time of sending out this newsletter, we have a total of 122 members on the roster. This includes 83 regular adult members along with a pair of junior members, 29 lifetimers (75+ years of age) and 8 honorary members. New regular members this year so far include Les Ducharme (Sherwood Park), Steve Saunders (Bon Accord), Wayne Hanson (Sherwood Park), Joe Nusl (Leduc), Grant Dimond (Sherwood Park) and Werner Strohhaeker (Daysland). Welcome to the club boys, we hope to see you out at meetings and also at our club events. Added to the lifetimers list this year are Dave Anderson and Elmer Prochnau while Terri Horton is now an honorary member.
Members who have not yet renewed for the current 2018/19 season are reminded that our club's 3rd party liability insurance coverage is no longer in effect for them starting on July 1. It's not too late to renew, you can get that done at monthly meetings or simply mail in a $35 cheque (payable to SVTA) to our postal mailing address which is SVTA - Box 3072 - Sherwood Park, AB. T8H 2T1. Some wait until the pull weekend to renew which is fine, but getting it done before speeds things up at pull registration and makes things easier for those workers who are getting that done. You must be a paid up current member in order to pull in our club events.
KEN WOOD (1967-2018) - Long-time club member Ken Wood passed away in a tragic accident on June 23 at the young age of fifty-one. Ken lived in the Barrhead area and was a well-known tractor restorer, collector and puller in the province for many years. We will miss his friendly nature and welcoming smile at our annual pull at the Bremner site. Ken is survived by his three daughters, his parents, one brother and numerous other family members. Donations in Ken's memory can be made to the Canadian Tractor Museum in Westlock, Alberta. The address is 9704-96 Avenue, Westlock, AB. T7P 2R6.
SVTA 2018 ROADSIDE CLEANUP FUNDRAISER (May 12) - About 25 club members (and a few family members) showed up on May 12 and for a morning's work and raised about $1200 for our club. We divided those present into six teams with each group cleaning up both ditches alongside a two-mile stretch of road on Range Road 222. Six captains volunteered earlier and provided their pickup trucks, one for each of the six crews. Ernie Shumansky, Stan Podulsky, Wes Heller, Mel Clark, Don Tauber, and Roman Sadauskas were the captains. Thanks to everyone who helped out with this 14th edition of our club's roadside cleanup fundraiser. The cleanup went very well although Roman's crew experienced a very rough stretch with a huge amount of garbage in the ditches so they were a bit late finishing up. Roman and Wes reloaded everything collected and made their way back to the drop off spot after the lunch hour.
JOSEPHBURG AG SOCIETY SAFETY EVENT (May 24) - Our club participated in Josephburg Ag Society's annual Farm Safety Exhibition on May 24. Major sponsors again were Shell Canada and Pembina Pipelines. We were one of several clubs and/or companies who presented a variety of safety tips to visiting grade 4 students from Holy Redeemer Elementary and Ardrossan Elementary schools. Our club's display focused on PTO safety, grain bin safety, and tractor & yard equipment safety. Other groups involved included safety relating to large animals (Ft. Saskatchewan 4H club), chemicals and skin (Shell Canada), internal fire prevention (Strathcona County EMS), train safety (Canadian National Railroads), wildfire prevention (Strathcona County EMS), ATV safety (Alberta Off Highway Vehicle Association), and ground disturbance (Pembina Pipelines).
Club members manning our booth included Al Gregoire, Leo Bilodeau, Ellis Kumpula, George Schmidt, Mike Lakusta, Ray MacMillan and Ken Bodell. Thanks to all of these individuals for spending the entire day with this and providing valuable information to the children who were in attendance.
FARM REPORT - At the time of writing this news, our 2017 barley crop is still sitting in our granaries on the Bremner site. We have several interested customers who are ready to pick it up as feed barley and that will get done before too long. Meanwhile, the farm crop group has been busy with soil preparation and seeding for this year's grain crop. In late May, we planted about 5 acres of oats which we will harvest and bundle this fall and then store over next winter for use in our 2019 threshing bee at next year's tractor pull.
Leo Bilodeau hosted a seed cleaning work bee at this farm in late May where we used the club's fanning mill to clean up barley from last year's crop which we used as seed for this year's main grain crop in the west 40 field. This is the first year that we have used the mill which was donated to our club by Al Shymanski in our early years. Several members (some with their own tractors) were involved with completing the spring seeding operations and it was all finished up by June 7. The last part of our spring seeding left us with about 30 acres of barley that we will harvest later in the season. Those members helping out with this year's grain crops so far included Leo Bilodeau, his uncle Leon Bilodeau (visiting from the BC coast), Merv Schmidt, Wayne Sloat, Ernie Shumansky, Tom Speedie, Joe Radke, Val Shillinglaw, Stan Podulsky, George Schmidt, Lou Normandeau, Don Hood, and Mike Ballash
Very dry conditions have affected the first cutting of hay this year, hopefully things will improve and then the hay crop will take off and we can deal with that when it's ready to cut and bale. It looks like our potato plot farmers will not get anything into the ground this year unfortunately. That leaves us with a small area of summer fallow on the east side of the pond which will be kept black this summer by anyone who wants to give their old iron a little bit of a workout.
UFA FARMER'S DAY & REDWATER SENIOR CENTER DISPLAYS (June 8 & 9) - An early rain didn't dampen the spirits of club members who showed up for our annual appearance at the Fort Saskatchewan UFA store on Friday, June 9. Every year on the second Friday in June, UFA sponsors a Farmer's Day event where they have in-store specials and displays outside including our own for visitors to enjoy. Turnout from people in the Fort and surrounding areas was very good. At noon, we were treated to a great lunch with pulled pork sandwiches and delicious cold slaw on the menu which everyone enjoyed.
SVTA members showing up with their old iron included Helmuth Ritter (Ford model A automobile and Co-op E3 tractor), Joe Radke (Case D & John Deere M), Lee Salmon (Allis Chalmers WD45), Lou Normandeau (John Deere A), George Schmidt (John Deere 530), Ellis Kumpula (John Deere 530), Ken Bodell (John Deere R). and Val Shillinglaw (Massey Harris 44).
The next day saw some of the same group join some others at the Redwater Senior's Center for an event in that area of town. Two from the Fort Saskatchewan show showed up including Joe Radke with his Case D and John Deere model M and Ellis Kumpula with his JD 530. Also in attendance were Tom Speedie with a Ferguson TO35 and a David Brown 2D, and the Hood family was well represented with Don, Dean, and Ryan showing their John Deeres, two model D's and a model AR. Thanks to all of these individuals for showing up and representing our club at community events in the area. Showing our old iron at community events like these provides our club with some great exposure and enables us to advertise our August pull when we display club banners.
SVTA FARMALL "A" PROJECT - Earlier editions of the newsletter have brought members up to date on progress with our Farmall A project. Students at Ardrossan High School have worked on the tractor since early this year in teacher Mitch Bell's automotive shop class. Things are pretty much finished up and the photos below show the old '41 workhorse in its dress clothes. We're not 100% sure what fate awaits the little tractor but we will likely have it on display at our August tractor pull and show. Those in attendance will enjoy seeing that projects like this help to keep our agricultural history alive in the younger generation.
The tractor came from Mr. Rod Lemiski whose father purchased the tractor used in the early 1950's. It is a base model with magneto ignition and hand cranking for starting (so no battery, starter, generator or lights). Mr. Lemiski lives just east of Sherwood Park and club member Marc Normandeau orchestrated the project with his friend Mitch Bell. The funds spent on new parts came from a prize won at an agricultural show in Red Deer a few years back. The contest Val entered was sponsored by Brett Young Seeds of Red Deer. Thanks to all for getting this done. We might participate in a similar project in the future with the staff and students at Ardrossan High School. If you have a smaller-sized vintage tractor that could be donated for such a project, contact the club and let us know.
ARDROSSAN PARADE & PICNIC (June 16) - The Ardrossan Recreation and Agricultural Society sponsored their annual parade and picnic on a beautiful Saturday on June 16 and we had several club member show up to represent our club. Rae MacMillan organized the event for us and he was pressed into service hauling the Strathcona County's councilor float with his John Deere 1010. Others showing up with their tractors were John Van de Ligt (Ford 8N), Dave Jackman (Farmall H), Yvette Kumpula (JD XUV Gator), Lee Salmon (Allis Chalmers WD45), Val Shillinglaw (Massey Harris 44) and Ellis Kumpula (JD 530). Ellis pulled our own Northrup Express wagon with a number of youngsters enjoying the ride. John's tractor with his 3-point passenger unit on the back was awarded ARAS's first place ribbon in the cars, trucks, & tractors category. Thanks to all for showing up and representing our club in another community event.
FUN PULL #1 (June 17) - After the Ardrossan parade on Saturday, Ellis and Val headed over to Bremner and began preparations for our first fun pull of 2018 which was scheduled for the following day. The sled was pulled out of storage in the quonset and they went about getting it ready for some pulling action on Sunday. Turnout of club members on Sunday was a bit disappointing with only four tractors showing up. We hope this was because of the somewhat late notice of the fun pull about ten days before. Those that did arrive were able to see if their tractors gained any weight over the winter months, or perhaps were served notice that they themselves might have gained a few pounds. All four tractors were able to get in several pulls through the afternoon which had some great weather for all to enjoy. Yvette Kumpula showed up at noon with some great pizza which was washed down with liquid refreshments and we all had a tasty and enjoyable lunch under the canopy next to the weigh scales. More fun pulls are planned for later in the season although no specific dates have yet been set. We will send that information out to members once we have things confirmed for dates, etc.
AUGUST 25 & 26 SVTA TRACTOR PULL & SHOW - The tractor pull planning committee has been meeting every month for a while now and things are falling into place nicely. As usual, we will have our worker pre-pull gathering during the week just before the weekend. We also put up the big tents at the same time. More information on that will be sent out just before via email. Thanks to everyone who is on that pull committee as well as those that have already signed up for work duties on the 2-day work roster schedule. If your name isn't yet on that list, you can still volunteer, simply reply to this email and we will put you in contact with Ellis Kumpula who is scheduling all of that. Or you can phone him at 780-922-6120 and he will fit you in with a job assignment. In addition to Ellis, others on the pull committee this year include Bob Beveridge, Leo Bilodeau, Ken Bodell, Les Ducharme, Sten Nielsen, Joe Radke, Roman Sadauskas, George Schmidt, Ray Schmidt, Val Shillinglaw, Tom Speedie, Ernie Shumansky, and Don Tauber.
In addition to the pulling competitions, we will have a number of additional activities each day including our silent auction fundraiser, garage sale, vendor tent, threshing demonstrations, vintage farming field activities, static machinery displays, a noon hour parade of power, a vintage car parade and kids activities of all sorts along with other interesting things to enjoy.
Visit our website at strathconavintagetractor.com for detailed information about the location of the Bremner Farm along with our participation and insurance requirements, pulling rules, and weight classes.
SOME TRACTOR HISTORY: SMALL FARMALL TRACTORS - The 1939 restyling of the entire Farmall lineup by noted industrial designer Raymond Loewy covered both form and function. Most prominent in that regard was the diminutive Farmall A's and B's. These tractors were mechanically similar but the model A had a wide front while the B's sported a tricycle front end. The model A used one long and one short axle in the back with the driveline positioned to the left side and the driver and steering wheel offset to the right. The offset driver position appeared similar in both models but the driveline was centered on the B's and the seat and steering wheel simply offset to the right. They were excellent cultivating tractors for market gardeners because of the visibility afforded to the driver with the seating position being offset. As with other Farmalls, the upgraded versions of 1952 model A added "Super" to the letter model names resulting in the Super A. In 1948, the B was replaced by the C which was the same mechanically but had an operator's platform, stood higher, and looked much larger. The Super C model also appeared in 1952.
Eventually, the letter series evolved into IHC's numbered series of tractors in 1954 when the model 100 showed up at dealerships. Other numbered-series models included the models 130, 140, 200, 230, and 240 which were all based on the original model A design. The last of this series ended in 1962 when the last model 240 rolled off the assembly line. Final specifications for the little 2500 pound (with no extra wheel weights or tire fluid) model 100 included a 123 cubic inch overhead valve engine putting out 18 horsepower through a 4-speed transmission.
UKRAINIAN VILLAGE DISPLAY (June 24) - Some club members travelled east on Sunday, June 24 for our annual tractor display at the Ukrainian Cultural Village's Vintage Days event which they host every year. This year we had four club members show up with six tractors. Rae MacMillan (Ford Jubilee) and Wes Heller (Massey Harris Pony) were there along with Don Tauber (Allis Chalmers C and Farmall A) and Bob Beveridge (Cockshutt 20 and Co-op E2). Bob's son-in-law Rob Minogue helped with the display as well as with loading and unloading. Along with over 100 cars and trucks, it was an impressive display and with the great weather, the place was really busy with a big turnout of visitors. Old tractors always attract a lot of attention, especially with so many rural people that seem to visit the site every year.
CANADA DAY PARADES - On July 1, our club planned to participate in both the Sherwood Park and Fort Saskatchewan Canada Day parades. In Sherwood Park, we had to cancel our club group participation because we failed to get anyone to register in advance, but Don Tauber did arrive with his John Deere 40 to pull the Strathcona County councilor's float. Thanks for doing that Don, we appreciate the time and effort needed to get this done.
That same day, we had some of our members at the Fort Saskatchewan Canada Day parade. Lou Normandeau towed our club's Northrup Express Wagon over to the parade staging area and towed it in the parade with his John Deere A doing most of the work and his grandkids riding in the wagon. Other tractor club individuals participating included Ellis and Yvette Kumpula with Ellis' JD 530 and Yvette's JD Gator . Helmuth Ritter participated but as the driver for the fire department's vintage fire truck. Helmuth has been with the Fort Saskatchewan Fire Department for over 50 years as a volunteer member. Thanks to all for their participation, next year we will try to get more members involved.
So that's the SVTA news up to and including early July. We hope to see you out for our next general meeting on July 18 and also at our events and activities through the summer and into the fall. Until then, remember ...... "Common sense is like deodorant. People who need it most never seem to use it."