Breakfast every Thursday at Denny’s in Pueblo, 8:00 AM
Dinner Meetings 2nd Sunday of every month beginning September 13th, Golden Corral, Pueblo
Victor Gold Rush Days
Meeting Notes, March 9, 2014
On March 9, 2014 sixteen people attended a lunch at the Golden Corral in Pueblo. Wes and Donna Stratman were once again visiting family in Nebraska, the meeting was called to order by Steve Stratman. An updated list of all the 2014 upcoming events was distributed and reviewed. Dolores McCurry talked aboutDarwin’s upcoming tractor and equipment auction on June 7th. Grant Anderson had several unique items he shared with the group including a tool that has not been identified. Ron Schneider had a couple of tools for show and tell which he then donated for prizes. Steve had a recently acquired ice cream freezer for show and tell. The “bucket” that contains the cream canister and ice/salt is a glass jar about the size of a one gallon pickle jar. Door prizes were given away, next meeting is April 13th.
I THINK I’VE BEEN HERE BEFORE
By Steve Stratman
In 1999 my father called to see if I wanted to go to an auction in south west Kansas with him. I was living in Longmont at the time in a small house on a small lot in town. Not having any money to spare for purchasing I was just along to spend some time with my Dad. It was a multi-day sale and we had motel reservations in town. We drove dad’s pickup without a trailer attached, apparently he was not planning to buy much either. At the end of the first day we had a pickup load of small items including a 24” diameter copper kettle and a horse drawn plow. Buying continued the next day and Dad purchased a Mayrath garden tractor. Mayrath built grain augers and grain handling equipment in Dodge City Kansas. They must have tried expanding their market by building a garden tractor, it is pretty rare. We unloaded the pickup, loaded the Mayrath and somehow were able to pile everything else under, around, and on the little tractor!
Fast forward to 2014. Steve Cochran tells me about an auction in Tribune Kansas he is thinking about going to. Steve and I have been watching for a one row corn picker and there was a nice looking one on the three day Hornbaker auction. While looking at the sale bill, a large corn sheller caught my eye. Information was vague but I could tell it was about the same size as the one we borrow and belt up to our steam engine in Salida. A plan was made and evolved into Steve and me each taking a pickup and trailer. Once I decided to attend the auction, I called my Dad to see if he wanted to ride along. The corn picker was listed for the 3rd day so Steve planned to go out on day two. There were too many interesting items so Dad and I drove out the morning of day one. I was quite pleased with myself for arriving at the auction in 2 hours 40 minutes without a speeding citation when MapQuest put it right at 3 hours. We left my house about 10 minutes behind schedule but by making good time we arrive 10 minutes before 9:00 a.m. the scheduled start time. However, when we got out of the truck we could hear the auctioneer calling for bids. While Tribune, KS is in the Mountain time zone, the auctioneers watch was on Central time!
By lunch time I had not raised my hand a single time, and Dad had only purchased a few small boxes of items. The afternoon told a different story. I was not able to pass on a square tub Maytag washer, Fairbanks platform scale, Wisconsin engine, and a Kinkade garden tractor. I was visiting with some guys about a piece of equipment they had just purchased when I looked up in time to see the auctioneer drop the gavel and call out Dad’s number for a Wonder cement mixer with a 1 ½ HP John Deere engine. TIME OUT!! We had hauled Dad’s 1970 Hesston 140 to the auction for him to get around. Without the front mount mower deck it fit nicely in the back of the pickup and it has a little bed for him to haul a few things. I knew if Steve was able to purchase the picker and I was successful with the sheller, we were going to have a space issue. After the sale ended for the day we drove about 20 miles out to the farm where the 3rd day of the auction would be held. Dad had been to Hornbakers place in the early 70’s but I think even he was amazed by the approximately 25 acres of antique, vintage, and modern equipment to be sold.
We went back to town and decided to drive down the main drag. At the far edge of town we found the fairgrounds where two very large fossil fuel engines and a hand full of other items would be sold. Here we found the corn sheller pictured on the auction flyer and web site. It was a John Deere model D600 and was in really nice condition. There was very little wear on the gears or sprockets and the sheet metal was very straight. After looking over everything else we noticed the running gear or cart was not original. It was a little undersized and the homemade front axle was slightly twisted. We decided it was time to check into the motel which was not hard to find in this little town. When the reservations were made they said we got the last room available. The desk clerk was the wife of the motel manager who was out of town. We asked to see the room since the appearance from the outside was a little questionable. As we were walking to the room she said the inspectors had just been there but she assured us they received a passing score. Even though the cabinet tops were a little dusty the room with three beds seemed adequate for the $55 cash price. How much can you expect from a motel named “Trails End”?
The next morning Dad decided it would be a good idea to talk to the auctioneer and see I they would put the Wonder cement mixer back on the sale. We visited about the upcoming McCurry auction back home in Pueblo and he said they would be happy to put the mixer in the lineup for that day. By noon they were on the tractors and other items listed for internet bidding. Steve arrived in time for lunch and later he and Dad drove up to the fairgrounds where the sheller, engine, and some other items were located. Since Dad and I saw those the day before, I stayed with the auctioneer. They sold the handful of items from in town and by the time Steve and Dad returned I had already purchased the sheller. I was very pleased! If anyone knows where to find running gear for this machine I would like to talk you.
At the end of the day we took Steve out to the farm so he could see the corn picker and other treasures. After scratching our heads about how we might load the one row picker and again being amazed by the acres of items, we returned to load the sheller. Steve and I removed the grain elevator, cob stacker, and blower chute. Next we winched the sheller onto the trailer but when the back axle rolled onto the wood floor I heard the board breaking. A little jacking and a 2x6 and we had the sheller in position. We anchored it down and loaded the parts previously removed for hauling. I had the four items purchased the afternoon of the first day plus a nice Letz corn grinder (how could I keep my hand in my pocket when the bid was $10?) we decided not to load until after the last day of the auction. We went to the bar next to the motel for beer, pizza, and to watch Steve’s favorite basketball team. That evening at the Trails End the occupancy rate was high including our neighbor who thought nothing of leaving their TV on all night long!
Steve went out to farm early the next morning. Dad and I decided to hang back a while since I vowed not to make any more purchases and make sure Dad did the same. The way things were lined up we felt the picker would either be one of the last items to sell or one of the first, we were hoping for the second. Unfortunately during announcements Steve learned it would be one of the last. More unfortunate was the fact the wind was blowing…. not just blowing but really, really blowing. At times you could not see twenty feet in front of you! But one good thing, it would be too miserable for Dad or I to make sure nothing sold too cheap! Right. I kept my promise by staying in the truck and catching up on some collector magazine reading, but Dad had to purchase a shop grinder and some disk blades. “Okay nothing too big, I think we can make it fit.” As the end of the sale approached I was talking to Steve who was standing next to the picker which was finally about to be sold! Then what do I hear but the auctioneer saying “sold” and again calling Dad’s number! After Steve was successful with bidding on the picker I walked over to see that Dad had purchased a piece of military lubricating equipment and part of a horse drawn implement about 16 feet long. We were happy to see a very large frontend loader with fork attachment helping people earlier in the day. After waiting for our turn we dropped three chains from the forks and the operator quickly had the picker nicely placed on Steve’s trailer. During this time dad found a friend he had made earlier in the day and sold him the 16’ implement part. We loaded dads other purchases and his Hesston and could not wait to shower off the layers of dirt back at the Trails End. I think we were the only guest that night, and possibly the only guest the place had ever seen three nights in a row.
After a convenience store breakfast the next morning we still needed to load a few items. The Letz grinder was at the fairgrounds with no forklift or anyone around. Dad noticed a carnival ride truck that looked like it had been sitting in the same spot for a decade. It had a boom and chain hoist attached to the back end. We discovered the skids mounted under the Letz already had a chain someone welded to it just for dragging around. So in a short amount of time and very little muscle we had the grinder loaded on my trailer. We drove the handful of blocks back to load my washer, platform scale, engine, and garden tractor. As I was unloading and rearranging some things in the back of my pickup to make room for the last of the purchases I said to myself, “I THINK I’VE BEEN HERE BEFORE”
Down South in 2013
By Steve Stratman
Again this year the FRAPA members in the southern Front Range area participated in several great events. In March members went to the town of La Junta where Delbert Jones hosted “Farm Days”. Kicking off the parade season was the annual Blossom Day parade held May 4th. There were 18 tractors driving down Main Street in Canon City to the cheering crowd of young and old. In mid May several members took old tractors to historic Union Avenue in Pueblo for the annual Wild West Fest. This static display of antique farm equipment in the center of the street was a huge hit with this diverse crowd.
One of my favorite shows has been the Royal George show in Canon City held on Father’s Day weekend in June. As you may have heard, a few days before the show a wildfire destroyed most of the structures at this historic park and the 2013 show did not happen. The damage to the park was particularly hard because the Royal George has been a place our family has taken friends and relatives since moving to southern Colorado in the early 70’s. New buildings are being constructed and later this year the park will reopen. We hope to resume this show and parading antique tractors on one of the world’s highest suspension bridges!
Steve and Sue Cochran hosted a tractor ride on July 6th with Steve escorting 20 tractors through the community of Brookside and Canon City. The turnaround point was Centennial Park on the south bank of the Arkansas River where drivers could take a break and park visitors grinned at the lineup of old tractors. Upon returning to the Cochran’s, nearly 40 folks enjoyed Sue’s BBQ pork sandwiches and the side dishes and desserts that were brought to share.
The first weekend of August was the Antique Farm Equipment Show during the Chaffee County Fair near Salida. As usual, the steam engines were huffing and puffing while powering equipment, i.e. pumping water, shelling and grinding corn, with the most popular being the ice cream maker. Wrenches, gas engines, tractors and other farm items were displayed and the AVF had a tractor pull.
On the weekend prior to this show my niece was married at the fairgrounds. Our Minneapolis steam engine picked her up at the slab wood side mercantile (one of the permanent structures in the antique area) she used as a dressing room and delivered her around the corner to the arch constructed by her anxiously waiting groom. After saying their vows the couple boarded the engine and was off to the pavilion, another slab wood structure on the grounds decorated for the reception.
Just as the engine was pulling away from the crowd my Dad opened the valve to his confetti launcher blowing confetti into the sky via the engines smokestack! I think dad spent over a year designing, building, and testing the confetti launcher… loving every minute of it!
In late August the Colorado State Fair got underway with the traditional parade where members drove tractors through historic Union Avenue district and downtown Pueblo. Several members participated in the Pioneer Days parade mid-September, this is one of the most appreciative crowds ever!
In late September Laurie and I hosted the annual potluck dinner and bonfire at our place. We decided not to run the saw mill after someone stole the pine tree logs that a friend had set aside for us. Instead we gave rides in the grain wagon behind my JD 530 along the river bottom. There was a delicious variety of food for the approximately 80 people to enjoy while visiting in the yard. As dusk approached the bonfire was started, with the help of several kids. Two friends played their guitars and sang as people relaxed in their camping chairs and socialized while enjoying a beverage.
Penrose has been historically known for their apple orchards, the town’s annual Apple Blossom parade was held on October 5th. Yours truly did not participate due to an auction in Boulder that could not be missed! The town might be small but the parade is a big deal and the 16 tractor drivers were happy to participate.
After some scrambling at the last minute the Fall Fest show has found a home at Milberger Farms in Pueblo. Located on the St Charles Mesa, this family owned farm was a perfect venue for the show that was held the second weekend of October. Shane Milberger and his family run a year around market/store/restaurant and the pumpkin field next to the equipment entertained the kids while the older folks enjoyed engines, tools, hay baling, a tractor pull by the AVF, and many other demonstrations.
For 2014 dates on these events watch your newsletter or contact me at 719-250-7279 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
FALL FEST 2013
The Royal Gorge Show That Didn’t Happen
By Sue Cochran
As I’m sure most of you know by now, the Royal Gorge Fire caused damage of catastrophic proportions at the Royal Gorge Park on Tuesday, June 11th, 2013. The wildfire started somewhere to the southwest of the park and the dry wind blew it straight at the Royal Gorge Bridge. Winds were horrid that day.
The public was safely evacuated, but the fire completely consumed most of the structures at the park and scorched around 30 of the bridge planks. On the south side, the Palace Theatre, the Skycoaster, and the wildlife park survived. The fire jumped the canyon, and on the north side, the guard shack, the ZipLine, the Silver Rock Railroad and train, and several of the service structures “behind the fence” survived. Out of the 50-some buildings in the park, 48 are reported to have burned to the ground.
The Incline Railway to the bottom of the Gorge is damaged. Cables from the destroyed Aerial Tram fell into the river, and were finally removed ten days later with special equipment that had to be brought in from Grand Junction. The carousel and water-clock both burned. The restaurants and gift shops are gone. 3218 acres were burned in this fire before it could be extinguished.
This would have been our tenth show at the Royal Gorge. Thank you to those of you who planned to be here this year. We don’t know yet what the plans for the future will be. We hear rumors that they want the gates to be open sometime in September. Meetings are being held to determine what will be rebuilt and what will be replaced with “bigger, higher, faster” attractions. Steve and I will try to keep up with the rebuilding and rescheduling process and let you know what they decide about our future there. Any comments or suggestions from club members would be appreciated, and can be sent to email@example.com.
In the meantime, life goes on. Two baby buffalo were born within a week of the fire. One is white, and was named Smoky. The other is brown and was named Fireball. We wish them both the very best. When you see how the fire split and went around the animal pens on both sides, you just scratch your head in wonder.
Film of Royal Gorge Helitours’ first flight up the canon after the fire can be seen at www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANGH2VNnn2s. It is a very good film that shows the unburned beauty of the canyon as well as the total devastation at the park itself.
For those of you who are curious, the Royal Gorge Tourist Train through the Gorge is back to its regular schedule. Rafters have been running the river all along, but have now been cleared to take their rafts through the Gorge again. Canon City will pick up the pieces and go on. That first night, the fire was close enough to town that Steve and I could see flames from our house.
I know there have been square-dances done on tractors …. I’m wondering if some kind of tractor rain dances might be in order for the State of Colorado?