We've had a busy two months since our last newsletter at the end of July. August had several events including our 15th annual Western Canada Vintage Tractor Pull & Show. Moving into September, we got a good start on our fall harvest activities, the last part will have to wait till our next newsletter shows up. Read along and see what's been happening as the year winds down.
MEMBERSHIP REPORT - Most of the membership dust has settled now that the pull weekend is finished up. Seven members from this year did not renew so they have been removed from our list. New to the current club count since our last newsletter are Rob Speedie (Fort Saskatchewan), Clayton Trelenberg (Sherwood Park), Kevin Fry (New Zealand), Ron Prokipchuk (Whitecourt), Dan McGinn (Stony Plain), Darren Pietsch (Winfield), Tomas Redikopp (Stony Plain), Jim Sparks (Edgerton), Tom Emes (Fort Saskatchewan), and Ron Adams (Leduc). Dan McGinn , Jim Sparks, and Tom Emes were members a few years back before taking some time off. Kevin was visiting here from New Zealand and is a childhood friend of club member Peter Newman. They were farm neighbours when young kids. Welcome to the club boys, we hope you can make it out to meetings and participate in our events if possible. Our total count of all member categories (regular adult, junior, life timers, and honorary) now totals 125. Fifteen new members have joined up this season since things started up at the beginning of April.
FORT SASKATCHEWAN FARMERS MARKET SVTA DISPLAY (Saturday, August 10) - On a nice Saturday morning on August 10, the rain decided to take a day off and our club members were appreciative of that happening. We participated with a display of our old iron in downtown Fort Saskatchewn at their weekly Saturday farmer's market event. The Fort Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce and the Josephburg Ag Society hosted this week's event. Our club members participating including Helmuth Ritter (Massey Harris 33 and his 1928 Ford model A sedan), Ellis Kumpula (John Deere model 530), Leo Bilodeau (John Deere model B0), Tom Speedie (David Brown model D2 and an Oliver 77) and George Schmidt (Case model LA). We shared space downtown with the farmer's market, the town's annual garage sale and also the Fort Saskatchewan 4H club so there was lots to see and spend some money on if a person wanted. Thanks to all for showing up, we depend on our members getting out and showing their vintage iron throughout the season in and around Strathcona County.
OUR 2019 HAY CROP - This year's haying efforts were affected by the wet weather through the summer. We usually take off our second cut of hay the week before the August pull weekend but this year, we got our first cut done in the nick of time just before pull weekend. The individual who usually get that done for us were not able to complete the task and as a result we did the cutting and raking ourselves this year. Leo Bilodeau used his 1945 John Deere BR and #5 JD mower to complete the south field "vintage style" while Don Tauber and his 2013 McCormick tractor with a 7' sickle mower finished up the north field using a more "modern" approach. The cutting took up a good part of a whole work day and into the evening with both hay fields being pretty heavy.
Then three days later on fun pull Sunday, Ellis Kumpula and Quentin Janus used our little Satoh tractor while Roman Sadauskas put his MH Pony to work. This was done on a spur-of-the-moment because our usual contractor was not able to complete the job. Between the two small tractors, the first raking of hay was completed. One of the two 5-wheel rakes used belongs to our club, an addition to our machinery row along the north lane.
Fast forward to the Wednesday just before the pull weekend. Once again the club came to its own rescue when another deadline didn't get met, this time for baling. Ellis Kumpula showed up with his JD 4440 tractor and his model 567 round baler and was able to finish things up with a total of 70 large round bales taken off the site. Right now, nobody knows if we will even have a hay crop next year with our possible move to the new "far north" field with all of our club operations. Thanks to all that helped out and got the job done for us again this year, we appreciate your efforts and dedication to our farming operations.
ANNUAL ROAD TOUR (Saturday, August 17) - A somewhat coolish day arrived for our 15th annual rural road tour event but those who showed up bundled up and out they gate they went at about 10:15 AM on their way to Fort Saskatchewan for lunch at the Boston Pizza, our usual stopover location over the years. We had a great turnout this year with about 16 tractors showing up and we didn't have a single mechanical breakdown nor did anyone run out of gas.
Lunch at Boston Pizza was a lot of fun as usual, Ward 4 councilor Paul Smith paid for all the drinks so thanks for that Paul. We appreciate all of your support for our club over the years. After lunch we all headed back to Bremner and most of the tour tractors were left there overnight in preparation for our third fun pull on the Sunday. Thanks to Rae MacMillan for his planning and organizing efforts again with this fun outing, Rae always does a great job with that and led the way with one of his vintage Ford tractors.
COOKING LAKE TRAIL DAYS (Saturday, August 17) - The South Cooking Lake Community League hosted their annual Trail Days event on Saturday, August 17. It's a one-day affair and one of the best events of its type anywhere with a pancake breakfast, parade, collector car show & shine, horseshoe tournament, hot air balloon rides, community market, beer garden and kids activities throughout the day. Because we had another club event on the same day, our participation was limited to club member Ken Tomkins who we always rely on to show up and represent our club. Ken brought out his old workhorse John Deere D which provided the power necessary to tow the Strathcona County Council float around the parade route. Ken was assisted by his niece Kaylee. Councilor Paul Smith and Mayor Rod Frank were two of the riders on the float. Thanks for doing that Ken and Kaylee, hopefully next year more of us can join in the fun and activities.
FUN PULL #3 (Sunday, August 18) - The early morning weather didn't look promising and although the sun was reluctant to appear through the day, the rain stayed away and we finished up our third (and last) fun pull of the season. Our fun pulls give our club members a chance to weigh their tractors one more time as well as fine tune their performance before the serious stuff starts at the end of the month with our annual pull and show at Bremner. It also enables the pull committee to make sure the sled is in good working condition and we have all the settings and adjustments correct.
The turnout for this fun pull was fantastic and we had almost 25 tractors show up. Many of those tractors were left at Bremner after things wrapped up and were ready to go the following weekend for our annual pull and show. Roman Sadauskas and Ellis Kumpula organized a tasty pizza lunch with liquid refreshments that we all enjoyed.
TRACTOR MANUFACTURING & OUTSIDE VENDORS - Like today's car and truck manufacturers, tractor companies in the 30's, 40's and 50's depended on many of their parts being supplied by outside vendors. Here is a listing of some of the major suppliers that North American companies used in manufacturing their tractor lineups. As one might expect, some brands were more dependent on outside vendors than others. Some of these firms are still in existence in one form or another.
1. Cast tractor frames - Chicago Hardware Foundry (North Chicago, Illinois)
2. Pressed steel tractor frames - A.O. Smith Corporation
3. Transmission cases - Standard Foundry Co. (Racine, Wisconsin)
4. Engines - Continental Engine Co. (Muskegon, Michigan)
5. Powerlift gears - Rochester Gear Works (Rochester, Michigan)
6. Steering gears - Saginaw Steering Gear Division of General Motors (Saginaw, Michigan)
7. Ring gears - Milwaukee Forge and Machine (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
8. Steering wheels - Sheller Manufacturing Co. (Portland, Indiana)
9. Grilles, hoods, fenders, gas tanks - Johnson Sheet Metal Works (Richmond, Indiana)
10. Transmission gears - Double Diamond Gears (Richmond, Indiana)
11. Lights - K.D. Lamp Division of Noma Electric (Cincinnati, Ohio)
12. Paint - Sherwin Williams Co. and Tousey Varnish Company (both of Chicago, Illinois)
13. Wheels - French and Hecht Co. (Davenport, Iowa)
14. Differential cases - Belle City Malleable Iron Works (Racine, Wisconsin)
15. U-Joints - Borg Warner
16. Clutch facings and brake linings - Raybestos Corporation
17. Governors - Pierce (Anderson, Indiana) and Novi Co.
18. Bearings - Torrington, Timken, Hyatt, Rockwell, Bower, and New Departure
19. Ball joints - J.J. Tourek Manufacturing Co. (Chicago, Illinois)
20. Air cleaners - Donaldson Manufacturing Co. (St. Paul, Minnesota)
21. Belts - Gates Rubber Co.
22. Disc brakes - Lambert Disc Brakes (St. Joseph, Michigan)
23. Dash gauges (Rochester Manufacturing Co. (Rochester, New York)24. Oil filters - Purolator Co.
25. Carburetors - Marvel Schebler and Zenith
26. Decals - Meyercord Co. (Chicago, Illinois)
27. Mufflers - Nelson Muffler Co. (Stoughton, Wisconsin)
SVTA ANNUAL VINTAGE TRACTOR PULL & SHOW (August 24 & 25) - We held our 15th annual Vintage Tractor Pull & Show at the Bremner farm site on the weekend of August 24 &25. With our $5.00 gate fee and the 14-and-unders getting in free, we take pride in being one of the last events of this type with such a low entrance cost. We pass along congratulations and thanks to the pull organizing committee, our volunteer workers, as well as our sponsors who provided product and services for this annual event. Once again, we were blessed with good weather although things got a bit windy on the Sunday. Somehow though, the rain managed to hold off until the last handful of small tractors were finishing up late on Sunday afternoon.
Things kicked off earlier in the week when we had a 5-tractor mowing crew show up and mow the entire site after the hay crop was taken off. Then our regular worker meeting and putting up the 3 big tents on Thursday night as usual. Friday was spent getting the site ready and the early weighing in and registering of about 120 tractors, our most ever. Saturday morning kicked off with some final weighing and registering and then our regular puller safety meeting. On Saturday, the small tractor classes started up first but on Sunday, the big guys were first to pull.
Attendance through the gate over the two days was similar to past years, We also generated income from our silent auction and garage sale, both had their own separate tents this year. The third tent was used for our outside vendors who pay a fee to us to display and sell the variety of products that they deal with. Noon hour activities kept everyone busy while we shut down the pulling. Those in attendance enjoyed our demonstrations of vintage threshing, sawmill operation, and binding (which unfortunately was cut short due to our oat crop being too green to work with). County staff in period costumes again provided tours of the historic Bremner mansion, our club provided the wagon transport to and from the mansion site.
Children attending had a great time with things like face painting, balloon sculpturing, a bouncy castle, our old-fashioned sand pile, and on-track noon activities like toy tractor pulls and blindfold race competitions. Kids were also able to actually drive a real vintage farm tractor on the track. Transportation around the site was available by large golf carts, Rod Vestby and his Norwegian Pony wagon rides, and also our own kiddie trains which the kids love to ride on. We had more food vendors on the site this year than usual so the food lineups were a bit shorter. A vintage car, truck, tractor, and equipment display was set up and our regular noon hour "parade of power" down the track showed off a lot of the vintage iron on site.
This year we used an electronic display for the first time which was set up to face the crowds on the south side of the track. The display listed the sponsors that contributed product and services for us to make the event an enjoyable experience. Our club would like to pass along a sincere thank you to all the individuals, groups, and firms that support our annual pull. We are already looking forward to next year when we hope for a bigger and even better pull and show.
TRACTOR PULL RESULTS 2019 - Here are the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place finishers in each class from this
year's pull. Numbers show the total distance in feet for two pulls over the two days. Two "full pulls" would total 500 feet (250 on each day).
Elmer Prochnau (Oliver 60) 408.27, Tom Speedie (David Brown 2D) 256.47, Sten Nielsen (Porsche A3) 234.90.
Bob Beveridge (Cockshutt 20) 384.68, Ken Tomkins (Allis Chalmers WC) 357.24, Karina Trudel (Cockshutt 20) 349.50.
Terry Dietrich (Cockshutt 30) 482.94, Elmer Prochnau (Oliver 70) 457.68, George Frieser (Farmall H) 380.71.
Magnus Hansen (Cockshutt 30) 492.44, John Van de Ligt (IHC B275) 478.02, Ken Connolly (Ford 800) 470.56
Val Shillinglaw (Massey Harris 44) 320.63, Tom Speedie (Allis Chalmers WD45) 303.55, Don Tauber (Oliver 88) 299.66.
Dave Peters (JD 60) 339.02, David Lougheed (Oliver 88) 326.00, Magnus Hansen (Farmall M) 307.03.
Bo Hansen (Farmall M) 353.28, Ellis Kumpula (JD 630) 342.58, Kevin Fry (Farmall 460) 321.15.
Ray Schmidt (JD R) 396.36, Magnus Hansen (Cockshutt 570) 380.32, Sten Nielsen (Deutz-CCIL F3L) 379.03.
Dan McGinn (Case 500) 276.28, Dave Peters (JD 730) 269.49, Chris Schmidt (JD 730) 252.24.
Rick Northrup (JD 830) 500.00, Brad Schmidt (JD 830) 405.12, Jim Sparks (JD 830) 399.83.
2019 GRAIN CROPS: BINDING & SWATHING - As mentioned in the pull report above, our small plot of oats on the west field near the pull activities was too green for Leo Bilodeau to demonstrate his vintage binder on pull weekend. As a result, we had to wait three weeks and then he went back to work with help from Lou Normandeau and Drew Hogg who rode the binder and stooked the bundles. So that will be loaded on our wagons for winter storage and then will be threshed next August at our annual pull and show.
On the same day, swathing of the oats (15 acres) and barley (60 acres) on the far north field began with Val Shillinglaw in control of our touchy-steering Versatile 150 swather which Val coaxed to life a few years back after the unit was given to the club. Val says it's the club's swather but we say it's "Val's Versatile" .... and it's almost as versatile as Val is with his wide range of skills.
Two days later we had another swathing crew move in to finish up with Leo Bilodeau and his New Holland 1090, Tom Speedie with his Cockshutt 423, and George Schmidt (John Deere B and a his pull-behind vintage JD swather ). Ernie Shumansky manning "Val's Versatile" while Myrell Keller used our club's JD 3020 to pull our old swather which still works remarkably well . A few of the units had some mechanical issues but they'll get all fixed up by next year at this time and the cycle will start again. Once all the dust settled, everyone took a few days off before the combines found their way onto the far north field.
FIELD TRIP TO CW MANUFACTURING (Saturday, September 21) - Our tractor club had our first field trip in some time on the morning of Saturday, September 21 to CW Manufacturing in the Acheson Industrial Park. CW Manufacturing is involved with the design and manufacture of a wide variety of heavy mechanical & electrical, stationary & mobile equipment for the oil patch and other areas of technology. Their products can be found world wide as well as across North America. CW's head man is Keith Frieser who is the son of our club's long-time member, tractor restorer and puller George Frieser. Keith was a great host as about 16 club members showed up to tour his facility.
And what a great tour it was, the 60,000 square foot building itself is enormous and some of the current projects being completed inside were eye opening for us. And as things were winding down, Keith directed all of us to a special part of his facility which is his dad's shop where George spends countless hours on his restorations and built-from-scratch, fully-operational scale models of vehicles and tractors, some of which have been on display and driven down the track at our August tractor pull and show over the years. A big thank-you goes out to Keith as well as his dad for a great morning and a learning experience. Sometimes we forget just how much technology and ingenuity there is in the local area where we live. The morning finished up with a great lunch at a nearby truck stop.
Because of the wait which is ahead of us to complete our fall harvest (and the possibilty of wet weather in the forecast to make it worse), we are going to end this current newsletter before it gets too long to read. Our next edition will pick up with our final farm harvest activities at Bremner along with our year-end Appreciation Supper, Silent Auction and Dance on October 19. We have two general meetings left before our winter break, specifically on September 18 and October 16. And last but not least, the "Christmas in the Heartland" event at Bremner at the end of November. Until then, HAPPY TRACTORING and remember .... "WE DON'T STOP PLAYING BECAUSE WE GROW OLD. WE GROW OLD BECAUSE WE STOP PLAYING."