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Our feature for 2013 will be Gaar Scott engines, as well as we'll be celebrating the 60th reunion of the WMSTR show.
We are inviting all, young, mature, and in-between to come to the 60th Annual Reunion of the Western Minnesota Steam Thresher’s Reunion on August 30-31, and September 1-2, 2013. We guarantee that your whole family will have a good time..
In addition to the Gaar Scotts which call Rollag home, we will be bringing Gaar Scotts to the Reunion 60 from Indiana, Iowa and South Dakota. In addition to the featured exhibits, the Reunion will continue to entertain at the horse farm, the sawmills, the Sand Box, all of the stationary gas and steam engines varying from tiny to extremely large, the steam trains of Rollag which provide free rides all day long, Main Street and the crafts show, the food prepared by lots of church women, twice daily parades, music during the day becomes great in the evening at several locations. Plan on spending at least one full day—including the evening music and spark show, but better plan to participate for two or three days to experience all of WMSTR. And remember, this is a family experience, the kids will love it.
And don’t forget the steam engines and threshing machines which started this reunion 60 years ago. We still steam up for the twice daily parades and provide the power for grain separators and saw mills. We even have fun with slow races, and pole contests.
Part One - Gaar Scott Feature: Ten Gaar Scotts will travel to join us in 2013. At this point, we have commitments from the following to be a part of Reunion 60:
We will not compete with major manufacturers, such as IH, John Deere or Case in terms of number of exhibits, however we will have an excellent set of exhibits including three which are the only existing units. The Mark Pederson Gaar Scott gas tractor, 40/80hp, is the only one existing, as is the Ruble Gaar Scott 40hp. which is the only fully restored 40hp engine. In addition, we will have some one of a kind items from the Gaar Foundation, these will include a 1870 10hp. portable engine and the whistle from the administrative building in Richmond. Jon and Lori Jury will be bringing a Gaar Scott threshing machine which is also very rare. And you never know, we may have some surprises.
The Nelson Gaar Scott, which has been in the Nelson family since 1926, is credited to be the engine that started the reunion as it was fired up for a day of threshing in 1940 which attracted a few spectators. It has been operated every year since 1926 except for a few years before and during WW II. It leads each parade and does the whistle signals prior to each parade. It will be wearing a new coat of paint as will most of the other exhibits at the 2013 reunion.
A Gaar Scott birthday party is planned for early Saturday evening, prior to honoring the Rollag Volunteers and the Queen Contest. We plan to keep all the Gaar Scott engines as busy as possible during the entire reunion----threshing, steam engine games, sawmills, spark show, horse power testing, etc.. The Gaar Scotts will also lead the twice daily parade, with the scale models on trailers, flying the U.S., Canadian, and Minnesota flags. Each Gaar Scott will have “signs” identifying the history of the machine, and current status.
The Gaar Scott Company was not a major distributor in our region; however it was one of the major U.S. farm equipment manufacturers in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Abram Gaar founded the company in 1849 in Richmond, Indiana. The firm specialized in steam engines and threshers, but also manufactured clover hullers, and saw mills. By 1882, the firm had 18 buildings, boasting 126,840 square feet of floor space, not counting offices, with a work force of 400 men. In 1899, Gaar Scott held the world’s record for sales of threshing machinery and employed 600 men. By 1911, the company was doing business through 20 branch offices in 18 states plus offices in Canada, Russia and Argentina. This included offices in Fargo and Grand Forks, ND, and Minneapolis, MN. At the height of its production, 1911, it was bought by M. Rumley Company of La Porte, Indiana. By 1915, Rumley Company was in severe financial distress due to rapid expansion and high debt. It sold off the assets of Gaar Scott for a small fraction of the purchase price.
Rollag Reunion “60” — Part Two: The second major activity at our 60th Reunion will focus on two areas. The first will be to provide informative signs for as many of the exhibits on the grounds as possible. Forms were developed and at the 2012 reunion, the fall annual meeting and is on the WMSTR website. We are asking owners and/or operators to complete and return the forms as soon as possible. This will provide time to transmit the information to a poster format. The sign will be made from the” Xerox Dura Document Paper” which is resistant to moisture, spills, weathering and is tear resistant. It can be attached to the exhibit in various ways. Second, we plan to recognize and honor the volunteers of the Reunion. A Saturday evening program will be organized to honor the 1954 attendees, the perfect attendance participants, the three or more generation families, and other long term volunteers. It will precede the Queen Contest. These forms are available on the website for download. We have at least one five generation family, several four generation families, and lots of three generation families who volunteer their time before, during and after the reunion. They are the “Magic of the Reunion”.