Category Archives: Scholl Engine Shop

Steam Shovels = Smiles

I had been looking forward to attending the 2014 Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion since the beginning of the year.  I attended the show for the first time with Chas and the girls in 2012, and had hoped to go last year but we were still in Oregon during the show.  I arrived at the show grounds on Tuesday night, I managed to get the bus parked and crash for a good nights sleep.

I walked through the Sand Box (the area of the show grounds dedicated to antique construction equipment) Wednesday morning, and noticed some activity around the steam shovels.  It was great to see the HUGE Marion-Osgood shovel fully assembled and painted, it was still in pieces in 2012.  The first picture is from our show adventure in 2012 when the shovel was still in pieces, the second picture is during the 2014 show.

Walking through the Sand Box, I ran into Harvey Pelley, one of the ring leaders for the Kentucky group of Steam Shovel Engineers.  I mentioned I had previous experience operating steam equipment, and asked if they needed any help during the show.  He introduced me to the crew and put me to work right away.  My first task was to climb to the end of the boom on the “Mary Sue” shovel and grease it, I was in heaven and ignored my aversion to heights.  Mary Sue also inspired me to write a poem about her, I read the poem on the video below the pictures.


I spent most of my time on the Osgood shovel, the “Sandra K”.  I started out firing it the first day, and fired it for the entire show.  Getting to the shovel around 9:00 AM and building a fire to get ready for the day, I had a lot of time to think in the quiet about what it must have been like to actually use these shovels to work.  They were state of the art machinery, able to move an incredible amount of dirt, sand, rock, or gravel in a single day.  Even though we were just playing and using the shovels for demonstration, it was a very tiring day and I looked forward to my nightly nap.  The last day of the show, some of the crew had gone back to Kentucky, so I decided the show must go on even though we were short staffed.  I had only a couple hours of operator time on the shovel, most of my time was spent keeping the steam pressure in the correct range.  I managed to both fire the shovel and operate it most of the day by myself, and had a blast doing it.  The video below included some footage of the big shovel in operation, along with my operation fun with the Sandra K.


At the end of the show, I managed to get a picture of The Scholl Bus beside the big shovel.  For anyone that has seen our bus in person, this might give you a better idea of the size of this beast.

2014 WMSTR

After the show this year, I had enough hours in to qualify for my Minnesota Steam Engineers License, so I hope to go back to the show grounds Fathers Day Weekend 2015 to take the test.  I have already talked Chas and the girls into going back with me in 2015, hopefully I can get my dad to go too.


Rollag Minnesota WMSTR 2012 – Kids Activities

The Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion (or WMSTR) has been held in the small community of Rollag, Minnesota, for many years now.  It grew from the ideas of a few farmers deciding to fire up the old steam tractors to remember the “Good Old Days” into a major festival with one of a kind displays.  There are many engines on permanent display on the show grounds, they run these engines during the show for everyone to enjoy.

I spent many hours over the three days we attended the show recording the sights and sounds of the show.  I took a few pictures, but many of these things need to be seen in action.  The videos were mostly taken with my iPhone, so they are not professional quality by any stretch of the imagination.  I feel they do document some of the highlights of the show, and record some of our activities while there.

There are many things to do, and it is very family oriented.  It would be a great place to stop even if you aren’t an antique engine nut like I am.  Chas and the girls had a lot of fun and everyone has said they want to go back next year if it works out with our travels.

Here we have a picture of horses being hitched to a disc so they could demonstrate for the spectators.  This is one of Lydia’s favorite spots, she loved watching the horses work and rubbing them down when they were resting.

This is the Case Eagle off of the factory where the steam and gas tractors at the show were built.  This thing is massive, it was donated to the WMSTR group during the 150 Years of Case Expo in 1993.

The following videos contain some of the girls favorite activities during the show.  They rode the steam driven carousel countless times, it was one of their go-to favorite attractions for sure.  They also rode a small steam train, shelled corn with hand crank shellers, and found a hill to roll down below the big train.  My favorite was the dance they came up with at the Pabst Brewery steam engine, it is priceless.

The next video is a tractor driving spot that allows kids of all ages to drive a John Deere tractor, the girls were all smiles when they got off the tractor.  I even noticed an 80 year old woman from Germany putting around on the old tractor.

This is the first post in this series:

Check out our second post in this series – Big Engines – HERE

Check out our third post in this series – Steam Train Ride, Baker Fan, & Gas Engine Buildings – HERE

Check out our fourth post in this series – Steam Log Crane & Steam Sawmill Operation – HERE

Check out our fifth and final post in this series – Steam Tractor Plowing, Steam Shovels, & Spark Show – HERE

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Tri State Antique Gas Engine and Tractor Show – Portland, IN


The Scholl Bus headed from Kentucky in the middle of August to the Tri State Antique Gas Engine and Tractor Show in Portland, Indiana.  This is a show that I had attended several times, and Chas has been there a few times, but the girls and bus have never been.

The bus was a big attraction, it was very visible from the street as you come in to the fairgrounds area.  We usually had a crowd standing around the bus at all times, all ready to ask questions if we were near or popped out for some reason.  Our neighbors said they enjoyed watching people as they tried to figure out how this rig works.

We set up a booth beside my dad, who has been to the show for 30 years in a row.  The Scholl Engine Shop trailer is a stopping point for many people every year, they want to see what kind of steam whistles or railroad lanterns dad has restored.

It was very hot and dry during the show, so we didn’t get around much to take a lot of pictures.  It is a major antiques sale inside the fairgrounds, but all of the streets in the town of Portland are filled with vendors of all kinds.  Many people come for the yard sale and street vendors and never make it in to the show at all.

The girls kept the Hawaiian Ice vendors very busy, they usually had at least 2 each every day.  I think that was their favorite part of the show, they had a good time with their Pop-Pop (my dad) too.