|Threshing Bee b-lines out of Sturgis after a weekend full of festivities|
|Sunday, 19 August 2012 14:55|
Most of the steam engines date from a time about one hundred years ago, during the years from 1910 to about 1927. Trying to maintain a machine that's nearly one hundred years old can be a difficult task. Veteran steam tractor restorer Ben Deneven has been keeping this machine running for nearly forty years.
Don Denevan says, "And it was made in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. And I got it from Crosby, North Dakota." Incidentally, Deneven is celebrating his 90th birthday. Historical tractors at the Threshing Bee aren't limited to steamers. There was an entire century of kerosene, gasoline, and diesel tractors also present at the event. The old Rumeley's and Averies, which were made in the teens and twenties, had a lot in common with the old steam engines, including their slow speed.
A team of horses usually traveled more quickly down a country road than these lumbering machines. But they had some big advantages over steam tractors. They could be started and shut down more quickly and they were easier to maintain. Parts for a gas tractor can be easier to find than for a steamer. But parts for these machines are still not something you can usually find at the local implement dealer. And that holds true even for the tractors made later; during the thirties, forties and fifties.
Jerry Sieveke says, "It depends on what shape it's in when you get it." Tom Houston says, "Aftermarket or from salvage. Through the actual CNH, no, a lot of them are not available anymore." Maintaining these historic machines and the rural lifestyles that accompanied them keeps alive an important piece of history, says Western Dakota Antique Club which organizes the Black Hills Steam and Gas Threshing Bee. The members say the developments these machines brought were as important as the gold rush or the other events of the old west.
Al Van Zee