As we enter our 15th season as a registered society in the province, we are looking forward to a regular slate of events for our club members to participate in and enjoy. We hope that things at the Bremner site will remain pretty much the same for this coming year but we expect some changes down the road starting in 2020 when the new Multi-Purpose Facility will likely start construction at the site. In the meantime, read along and see what's happened so far this year.
GENERAL MEETINGS 2019 - We are following the same annual schedule for our monthly meetings that we have always used. General meetings are held on the third Wednesday of every month at 7:00 PM at the Ardrossan Memorial Hall from March to October. No meetings are held on November, December, January, or February. The Hall is located east of the new Ardrossan Recreation Facility which is on the east side of Range Road 222. Enter the Ardrossan townsite just north of the railway tracks. Our April general meeting (this year on April 17) also serves as out Annual General Meeting. During the AGM, we elect a new slate of members onto our executive for the coming year. The Executive group have an extra monthlly meeting at County Hall in Sherwood Park on the first Tuesday of every month. They are responsible for making a lot of the decisions on behalf of the club as well as the planning and organizing of our activities and events through the season.
SPRING SOCIAL & BARBEQUE (Saturday, March 23) - This used to be an annual event and then disappeared for some time before reviving it last year. Lots of fun in 2018 and the same this year on a sunny afternoon on Saturday, March 23 at Ken and Vicki Tomkins' farm near South Cooking Lake. We had more than 40 club members and their spouses show up along with kids, grand kids, friends and neighbours. Everyone enjoyed the tasty hot dogs and hamburgers along with the cold drinks. Wagon rides around the property were pretty exciting with Ken's WD45 Allis Chalmers providing the pulling power. It was a great way to start the year and everyone enjoyed spending the afternoon outside after a long and cold winter. Other members involved with the planning and cooking included Peter Newman and Tom Speedie. Rae MacMillan had kept the drinks left over from our year end supper last fall and we used those. Thanks to all for getting this done again, it was a fun start to our 2019 tractor club season.
MEMBERSHIP REPORT - Our 2019-20 renewals are moving along well this year and our roster has 75 regular adult members listed along with 2 junior members, 35 lifetime members, and 9 honorary members. In addition, we have 20 spouse/partners listed as "associate members" who are allowed to compete or participate in our pulls and other tractor events without registering as a regular adult member. Spousal work volunteers at our pulls or farming activities do not have to be listed as associates. If you wish your spouse/partner to be on this list, contact Mike at 780-467-6973 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our official club "year end" is March 30 and members are allowed a 90-day grace period after this when they are still considered to be a member, but those who have not renewed by June 30 are automatically deleted from our membership. If you do not renew by then and wait until the August pull to get that done, you will have to re-register and fill in a new membership application form. Renewals can be done at our monthly meetings or by postal mail. If renewing by mail, send a $35 cheque to the following address:
SVTA - Box 3072, Sherwood Park, AB. T8H 2T1
So far this year, we have had 2 new members join up. This would include Les Lakusta from the Nisku area as well as Bo Hansen from Camrose. We had seven members from last year's roster move onto our "life timers" list this year. Life timers are those individuals who were registered the previous year and reached an age of 75 or more for this current year. From now on, their annual membership is automatically renewed each spring at no charge. Congratulations to all of those members, and remember that unless we have your birth date on record, we don't know how old you are.
ALBERTA TRACTOR EVENTS 2019 CALENDAR - The Harrold family has completed their annual Alberta Tractor Events calendar and it is available on the following website for the 2019 season. Once you are in the site, the top part lists all events in chronological order and then below that section, more specific information is provided on each one for things like times, activities and contact phone numbers, etc. You can click on the event you wish to visit directly in the top part or simply scroll down through the events in the second part until you find the one you want. Here is the link that you will need to access the site oldengine.org/members/harrold/event.htm
SVTA NEW EXECUTIVE VOTED IN - Our April general meeting every year also serves as our Annual General Meeting where we are required to choose a new group of individuals to serve on our upcoming executive for the next year. All of the current group remains on the board and we have had two additions as well as one position change. Al Rice has taken on the responsibilities of the treasurer position replacing Sten Nielsen who stays on but as a director. Mike Ballash returns to the group but this time as a director. Thanks to all of those individuals below who put in the extra time necessary to plan and organize our events and activities through the year. When all the dust settled, here is what the roster looks like.
President - Leo Bilodeau Vice-President - Joe Radke
Secretary - Val Shillinglaw Treasurer - Al Rice
Directors - Bob Beveridge, Rae MacMillan, Ellis Kumpula, George Schmidt,
Tom Speedie, Mel Clark, Peter Newman, Sten Nielsen, Mike Ballash.
ANNUAL ROADSIDE CLEANUP FUNDRAISER (Saturday, May 4) - A chilly and somewhat wintry week just before this year's event cast a bit of doubt on completing it but we managed to pull it off. This was our 15th consecutive cleanup and this year we had a bit less than usual assigned to us (8.6 miles along the Josephburg Road) which was enough considering our member turnout to was not very strong with only 17 members and 4 youngsters showing up which was disappointing. We raised $860 for our efforts. Roman Sadauskas did all the spade work involved with organization, equipment pick up and drop off and he also doubled up as a truck route captain along with Bob Beveridge, Leo Bilodeau, Stan Podulsky, Al Rice, Matt Janus and Ken Tomkins.
As usual, some interesting ditch "finds" including a Bookers Bourbon wooden box which Myrell Keller found. Unfortunately, the bottle inside was missing but he is going to refurbish it and put it into his collection of interesting stuff. Thanks to everyone who showed up and helped out and a bit extra to those using their own trucks and fuel. Remember the old expression that relates to road cleanups or your own tractor projects .... "For every one mile of road there are two miles of ditch."
SOME COUNTRY HUMOUR - A young preacher recently came upon a farmer working in his field. Being concerned about the farmer's soul the preacher asked the man, "Are you laboring in the vineyard of the Lord my good man?" Not even looking at the preacher and continuing his work the farmer replied, "Naw, these are soybeans." "You don't understand," said the preacher, "Are you a Christian?" With the same amount of interest as his previous answer the farmer said, "Nope my name is Jones. You must be lookin for Jim Christian. He lives a mile south of here." The young determined preacher tried again asking the farmer, "Are you lost?" "No I ain't lost, I've lived here all my life," answered the farmer. "Are you prepared for the resurrection?" the frustrated preacher asked. This caught the farmer's attention and he asked, "When's it gonna be?" Thinking he had accomplished something the young preacher replied, "It could be today, tomorrow, or the next day." Taking a handkerchief from his back pocket and wiping his brow, the farmer remarked, "Well, don't mention it to my wife. She likes those kinda things and she'll wanna go all three days."
ARDROSSAN RURAL SAFETY FAIR (Saturday, May 4) - This annual event is one which we have been participating in for several years now at the Rec Center with a small club display for visitors to enjoy. Val Shillinglaw was our main man this year and he took in the club's Ford 8N project tractor along with several another display items. The county supplied us with some of those items along with several handouts to make available to visitors. Wayne Sloat helped Val throughout the day manning our booth and he set up his usual video presentation of our club pulls and activities which drew a lot of attention.
We had two of our little kiddie tractors for the wee ones to enjoy for a trip around the area where we were spotted. The front gym of the Rec Center was filled with all sorts of family activities and information booths (including a petting zoo outside). We were in the arena area with several other community groups, Strathcona County departments, stage presentations and private businesses . Bob Beveridge helped out in the afternoon (and helped Val load up for his trip home) while Mike Ballash put in a shift earlier in the day. Thanks for all to get this done again, the Ardrossan group appreciates our support.
GENERAL MEETING PRESENTATION (Wednesday, May 15) - Club member Trent Smith gave our members an interesting and informative presentation on a newer type of liquid tire ballast that a lot of farmers are using as a replacement for the very corrosive calcium chloride solution. Trent is the owner of Elk Island Sales (Fort Saskatchewan) and the product which his company supplies and installs is "Rim Guard" and is often referred to as "Beet Juice." Trent went through the list of advantages that this product offers over traditional methods of liquid tire ballast as well as other information and features of the product. Visit their website at rimguardsolutions.com. Give Trent a call at (780) 998-9159 and he'll look after you and give you more information.
Elk Island Sales is located in Fort Saskatchewan, and their website is elkisland-polaris.com. In addition to their Beet Juice program, Elk Island is a Kioti tractor dealer. Kioti offers a wide range of farm tractors from the 22 horsepower CS sub-compacts all the way up to the PX series at 110 horsepower. In addition to Kioti, Elk Island also sells and services Polaris ATV's, Rangers, RZR's and snow sleds. If you are looking for mowers, their Ariens and Gravely lines offer what you need. Other brands they are involved with are a full range of HLA brand attachments for farm, industry and winter snow equipment. Farm King and Wallenstein equipment lines are also offered. Last fall, Trent supplied a 110 horsepower tractor which enabled us to load our 2018 grain crops from our storage bins to trucks for delivery to buyers. This year, his Kioti tractors will be at our August pull and show for sled pull back duties along with track maintenance. Trent donated several pairs of Elk Island work gloves and ball caps as door prizes for our May 15 meeting.
SOME TRACTOR HISTORY: THE MASSEY HARRIS 44 SERIES - Originally a Canadian company formed in the mid-1800's and specializing in farm equipment and implements, Massey Harris evolved into one of the world's most recognized tractor brands in the 1900's. Most of their tractor production eventually was located in Racine, Wisconsin. The first of Massey-Harris' "new" post-war models was the standard tread model 44 in 1946 followed by a row crop version the following year. The 44's became known for dependability and reliability and a diesel version was introduced in 1948. Both used the same overhead valve 260 cubic inch 4-cylinder engine coupled to a 4-speed transmission. Production of the model 44 stopped in 1955. A six-cylinder 44-6 model appeared in 1947 in both wheel configurations, it used a 6-cylinder 226 cubic inch Continental flat head engine.
In 1955, the 44 "Special" version appeared using an upgraded 44 engine displacing 277 cubic inches and a 5-speed transmission. A live PTO and factory hydraulics were standard equipment from the factory. The 44 Special put out almost 50 HP and weighed in at 5800 pounds. Both the 44-6 and the 44 Special ceased production in 1957. The last version of the series showed up in 1956 and was named the model 444. It used the same engine as the 44 Special but had a two-speed auxiliary power-shift transmission which gave 10 forward speeds and 2 in reverse. Power steering and propane power were factory options. The last 444 rolled off the assembly lines in 1958.
FARMING PLANS FOR 2019 - Our farming operations will be changing this year, at least the grain farming part of our operation. Those receiving this newsletter by postal mail will not be able to see the map and photo we mention, however they can be seen on our website in the newsletter section. The map below shows our current Bremner land that we lease from the county, it is outlined with the dotted black line. What is indicated by "HOME" is the area alongside Rg Rd 225 where our south and north hay fields are located along with our gate entrance, pulling track, weigh scales, sea can, machinery row and granaries. Note that the top right ¼ of this area is the Bremner Mansion along with Tranportation and Agriculture's work and storage area (and our quonset storage). What is labelled as the "West 40" is the field where we have farmed grain for the past several years. We will no longer be farming that West 40 area since the county will be doing some preliminary preparation work there this summer for the Multi-Purpose Ag Facility which will eventually show up there (but not this year). Those are all the proposed buildings and structures you see on the map. Our south and north hay fields will remain "as is" for this year (along with the rest of the home area we occupy).
For this year, our grain farming operations will be located on the county's newly-purchased land to the immediate north of our current home and west 40 areas. It is labelled on the map. Those familiar with the area will remember the grain crops planted there for past years until the county purchased this area (along with some other land to the far west) as part of their plans for the Ag Facility and the extra land needed to accommodate that. The photo you see is taken from the location of the yellow star facing a slightly north west direction. Highway 21 is in the far background to the west. At this time, it is not known for sure what we might expect for our HOME area in the future but there is a strong possibility that our whole operation might be moved to the north area where we will be grain farming this year.
SPRING SEEDING 2019 - Under the direction of lead hands Leo Bilodeau and Tom Speedie, the farm group started up in the last two weeks of May to get the seeding done in the north field (see above information). The field was in need of a good work-up so the discing crews went to work going over the field twice before the harrowing crews finished up the soil preparation. Stan Podulsky is shown on the club's 3010, he just celebrated his 90th birthday. Meanwhile, Leo and a crew of helpers (average age well over 70) put his fanning mill to work and cleaned about 180 bushels of barley and 40 bushels of oats on the Monday of the long weekend using some of our grain kept from last year's crops. One thing for sure, we're not getting any younger.
Mel Clarke has donated a 12' vintage John Deere seeder and a 10 foot non-hydraulic disk for the club to add to our machinery row collection. Ken Bodell has been working on both pieces to get them into working order. Once all the dust settled (and there was a lot of dust with the windy conditions), we sowed a total of about 75 acres of grain. That would include 60 acres of barley and 15 acres of oats on the north field. An extra small plot of oats adjacent to the west end of our south hay field has also been sown in oats which we will use for our binder demonstration during our August pull and show. Thanks to all for helping out boys, those on the spring seeding crews (hoping we didn't miss listing anyone) included Leo Bilodeau, Tom Speedie, Lou Normandeau, George Schmidt, Myrell Keller, Stan Podulsky, Troy Darnell, Ernie Shumanski, Sten Nielsen, Val Shillinglaw, Don Tauber, Pat Murphy, and Mike Ballash.
2019 AUGUST PULL & SHOW (August 24 & 25) - Ellis Kumpula and his pull committee members have begun planning this year's edition of our 15th annual Western Canada Vintage Tractor Pull and Show for the weekend of August 24 & 25. This might possibly be the last pull we host at the current location on the Bremner Site. This all depends on what happens with the county's schedule for their Multi-Purpose Ag Facility. Next year our event might be on the north field where we are planting grain this year. Things will pretty much be the same for this year as in the past with location, what we are offering, and the time schedules and events.
We will be having volunteer sign up sheets starting with our June general meeting on June 19 and we encourage members to sign up for work duties. Information on our annual event can be found on our website which has been refreshed a bit with some new photos and information. Once in the website, we encourage everyone to read our pull rules, OEM expectations for your tractors as well as our insurance requirements. The website address is found at the top of this newsletter.
JOSEPHBURG FARM SMART SAFETY EVENT (May 23) - Our club was again involved with this annual event which is organized by the Josephburg Ag Society and held at the Moyer Recreation Center. School kids from a variety of area elementary schools arrive in the morning and spend the whole day at the site and after they are organized into groups of about a dozen students, they rotate through a number of presentations by local clubs, organizations and governmental agencies. Our presentation is always on the topic of farm and farm machinery safety with emphasis on the dangers of mowers and tractor PTO's plus grain bin hazards, etc.
Other groups in the arena dealt with topics including chemical/skin safety, ground disturbance, confined space hazards, fire, hearing, electricity, ATV's, wildfires, trains and large animals. For the first time the event was open to the public for an addition two hours in the late afternoon after the school kids left. Thanks to club members Ellis Kumpula, George Schmidt, Al Gregoire, Ken Bodell and Leo Bilodeau for getting this done. That was a long day for those members but considering it is for the benefit of keeping young school kids safe, it is well worth the effort. Major sponsors include the Josephburg Ag Society, Shell Oil, and Pembina Pipelines. We were presented with a cheque for $350 from the organizers in appreciation of our efforts which is appreciated.
Elk Island Sales provided equipment for our station this year including a Kioti DK4710 tractor as well as a Gravely and an Arien's zero turn mower. Thanks to Trent Smith for getting all of this machinery to the Moyer Center for us and adding to a day of fun and safety education.
So that's the SVTA newsletter for March, April and May 2019. We hope you can participate in our meetings and activities as we move into the summer months. Check out the "Events" link from our menu at the top of the home page on our website to see what's happening over June, July, and August. In the meantime, HAPPY TRACTORING and remember ........ "Life is simpler when you plow around the stumps."