Labor Day may be over, but the celebration still lives on in my memory! Fun at Pardeeville & Pontiac remain!
Plans began last year when our friend Art Woodward invited us to come to Pardeeville Car Show.
This was the 15th year for the show. While this is primarily a car show, they also have tractors. Art invited us to bring our Graham Bradley to town. We drove to Art’s farm the night before with our friends Kent and Annie Jansen. They drove up from Sigel, Illinois with their very cool 1910 Sears car. Like the Graham Bradley tractors, the Sears car was also sold through the Sears catalog. We stayed at Arts house where his family rolled out the red carpet and fed us like kings. Art is a retired dairy farmer. His boys now farm the ground that he and his late wife Roseanne farmed for years.
In the morning Annie and I helped Art put a true farm breakfast on the table. Then we headed for the show following Art. I was excited to see a few sandhill cranes. Art said I could load up and take back to Illinois with me. He isn’t an admirer like I am. “They go down the rows and eat the corn!”
We arrived at Pardeeville in a mist, but it soon cleared up. The setting at Chandler Park, is lovely. Situated along Park Lake, the park is quite extensive with lots of room. Cars and trucks of all makes and models and years strutted their stuff from the classic to the muscle. We were located in a tractor area with a grouping of other tractors and strategically near the food vendor!
There were Farmalls, Allis Chalmers and a few other models set up when we arrived. After we all unloaded, one other very cool tractor owned by Paul Kohlwey, a Rock Island tractor joined the tractors near the Grahams. Paul shared some information about the history of the Rock Island Plow Company. “The tractor was made in Rock Island, Illinois. They made implements. They teamed up with the Heider Company who was making tractors for them. Then the Rock Island Co. bought Heider and changed the tractor name to Rock Island I think in the late teens.”
As for his tractor, Paul said, “This a 1926 G2 the oldest serial number Rock Island, serial #26.”
The company was later sold to the Case tractor company. The G2 tractor uses a 4 cylinder Waukesha engine. “Waukesha made engines for a lot of companies,” Paul said. “This one is a 15-25”
Paul found the beautiful G2 Rock Island in a shed. He had known the guy for years and he was able to buy it. The tractor is original. When he learned it wasn’t stuck, he made a deal. The bad thing he soon found though was that when he first started it, she ran, but she was also full of mice, yuck! “I had to clean it from top to bottom, put gas in it, change the oil, etc. I’ve had it a about five years now,” Paul said.
Quite beautiful in its work clothes, thankfully Paul plans to leave the G2 in original condition. Tinkering comes naturally to Paul because he is a plumbing, heating and air guy from Rio, Wisconsin. Besides his Rock Island, he also has a Rumley Oil Pull, Allis Chalmers crawler and a John Deere A.
Some of the highlights of the cars at the show for me included a pop up van that converted to a camper, a 1947 Woody Oldsmobile with Ambassador red paint and ash wood, a 1955 Chevy truck and the overall winner of the show, a 1953 Jag. The best of all though was ride in Kent and Annie’s cool Sears car. They won in their class, which was no surprise!
Late in the afternoon, we loaded up headed south and got ready to stop at Pontiac on Sunday for a little tractor fun.
On Sunday we hit the Pontiac Central States Threshermen’s Reunion, which is held annually over Labor Day weekend. This show was first held in 1949 making this the second oldest steam show in the USA. Its been a while since we went to the show. We had heard there had been a bit of rain over the early days of the show so we were prepared. We almost got stuck when we went to unload the Graham, but she wouldn’t start so we were visitors only, not exhibitor at this show after all!
The star of the Pontiac show was Allis Chalmers. This was the featured brand in fact, it was the big AC show, the Gathering of the Orange. There were several special Allis Chalmers at the show and we enjoyed seeing the line up. While there, I had a chance to meet up with Dave Appelton from Kaukauna, Wisconsin which aptly enough is just five miles north of Appleton, Wisconsin! Dave had a very cool 1966 D21 that he and his sons Thomas and Jacob built from scratch. “They helped me,” Dave said. “One is a machinist. The engine for the D21 came from Iraq, from a generator mortar. Twelve mortars came from Iraq and this was one of them.”
Part of the enjoyment of the Pontiac show for me besides the AC’s was walking through the flea market with Annie. I love to see different things like the fun pig made out of a natural gas tank, a cool umbrella stand, and the ingenuity of farmers and collectors. Several miniatures were at this show and I am always blown away by them.
The car and tractor shows in Pardeeville and Pontiac are great examples of American labor, American know how and American work ethic!