Antique tractors make Case at annual ag show

DAVID PHILLIPS/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE Ambassador Sue Mettler of Spring Valley rides a tractor to be given away through a drawing at the Root River Antique & Historical Power Association (RRAHPA) Antique Engine & Tractor Show, set for Friday, July 19, through Sunday, July 21. Mettler showed off the tractor at the Loyalty Days parade earlier this year.
Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy

RRAHPA’s making a rotation Case for farming.

Case is the featured tractor at this year’s Root River Antique & Historical Power Association (RRAHPA) Antique Engine & Tractor Show, set for Friday, July 19, through Sunday, July 21. The show features six to seven different brands on an annual rotation. Last year highlighted John Deere.

RRAHPA President Les Radcliffe emphasized that while this year’s Antique Engine & Tractor Show is going to be a rather Case affair, a second feature will include all makes of “crawler” tractors, such as the tracks found on bulldozers. 

“One thing we’ve never done before is a secondary feature of crawler tractors like there are on bulldozers,” he said. “That’ll be a neat extra thing.”

Case equipment featured the Civil War eagle, named Old Abe, which was adopted as J.I. Case Company’s trademark in 1865. The story, according to Case, begins in 1861, when Jerome I. Case, who was in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, watched as Company C of the Eighth Wisconsin was being mustered.  As its mascot, the company carried an eagle named Old Abe after the president.  Throughout the war, Old Abe went through 38 battles and skirmishes and the Eighth Regiment became known as the Eagle Regiment. After the war, Old Abe appeared in many parades and reviews and received the cheers of the nation. 

The eagle first appeared on a plain perch on Case tractors.  Later, it was shown perched on a globe of the world and became the most famous bird in agricultural history. Old Abe reigned for 104 years as the J.I. Case Company trademark.

Radcliffe noted that the RRAHPA grounds just west of Spring Valley will be wall-to-wall Case, but the other news is that there will eventually be new walls at the grounds. 

“We were talking about doing an engine shed for the big stationary gas engines.  We have poles up, and if we make enough money at the show, we’ll be able to put the tin on the walls,” he said.  “The engines…it’s the really big ones.  I think the Spring Valley power plant still has one.  They’re the really big engines that you don’t move around – they need a permanent foundation and they’re in a building. 

“A collector in Wells had quite a few and realized that he couldn’t take care of all of them, so he’s asked if they can be put on display.  Most big shows have a stationary engine building, and we’ve never had one.  It’s an exciting thing to say that we have a stationary engine shed.  The stationary engines are something that not everybody likes, but they’re neat, and people like different things.”

The show has a busy lineup of events, as well as daily demonstrations of rosemaling, spinning, tatting, butter churning, rug weaving, crocheting, making Norwegian lefse on a woodburning stove, corn shelling, corn shredding, threshing, rock crushing, saw-milling, blacksmithing and more. Thee will also be a flea market and swap meet with all kinds of vintage items and homebased business vendors, food served by the Grand Meadow Lions Club, a petting zoo, antique cars and trucks, the Timberline Railroad “made to scale with permanent track and cars,” a full farmstead with down-home comforts of the era, as well as a raffle for a VAC-14 Case or $1,500 as first prize, a Case pedal tractor as second prize, Case toy tractor as third prize, and a Root River Case collectors’ Red Wing butter crock as fourth prize.

The opening ceremony is slated for 9:45 a.m. on Friday, July 19.  Throughout the weekend, there’ll be music by “Sisters & Company” and church services by the “Bear Creek Boys,” the daily tractor parade at 11 a.m., a pancake and sausage or biscuits and gravy breakfast until 10 a.m., games for all ages on the pulling track, a tractor pull for antique and classic tractors pulling two sleds, more breakfast on Saturday morning, more music and tractor parading, a horse pull brought to the grounds by the Minnesota Horse Pullers Association, the Kid Power pedal tractor pull by Kid Power Pedal Tractor Pull that’s sponsored by Podein’s Power Equipment of Stewartville, and on Sunday, even more biscuits or flapjacks for breakfast to start the last day of the show.  The “Bear Creek Boys” will bring the church services to the show attendees before and after the tractor parade, and at 3 p.m., it’s the raffle ticket drawing for the VAC-14 and one last ride on the little railroad before the show’s done until next year.

Radcliffe remarked that the show is an opportunity to bring generations together to enjoy agriculture and history. 

“We do see more generations coming back every year.  I think that the show is a great opportunity for a lot of people to relive their childhood, because many older people grew up on a farm, and it’s also a great opportunity for those who never grew up on a farm to see how things were done many years ago,” he said. “My favorite part is the farmstead activities…the corn-shelling and the threshing. There’s something for everybody.”

The Root River Antique and Historical Power Association’s 37th annual Antique Engine and Tractor Show is slated for July 19, 20 and 21, with show grounds opening at 7 a.m.  Admission is $10 for the entire weekend, and children under 12 years old are admitted free of charge.  Handicapped parking is available, as are people wagons to transport from the parking lot. 

The RRAHPA show grounds are located at 78715 255th St., Spring Valley, five miles west of Spring Valley on Highway 63.  Campers should make reservations at Deer Creek Campground by calling 507-346-2342.  Unlimited primitive camping is available, and reservations are not necessary for primitive camping.  No camping is allowed on the show grounds, however.

Once RRAHPA’s membership has made its Case for farming, it’s moving on to the 2020 RRAHPA show, which will feature Sawyer-Massey, Wallis, Massey-Harris, Ferguson and Massey-Ferguson tractors and equipment, with a second feature of classic cars and chainsaws.       

For more information on general questions about the show, contact Radcliffe at 507-254-0622.  For swap meet or indoor vendor questions, call Ben Walker at 507-261-3511; for gas engines, call Mark Wolterman at 507-440-0657; for the tractor pull, Joe Schechinger can be reached at 507-433-3809 or 507-438-6639; and for feature tractors and equipment, contact Wolterman or Andy Kappers at 507-272-6724.  The RRAHPA website, with a full schedule of events, is also available at