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‘Gathering of the Orange’ draws 11,543 admirers

By Staff | Aug 20, 2010

Visitors to the threshing show peruse one of several exhibitors who had Allis-Chalmer parts for sale and trade.

ALBERT CITY – With Allis-Chalmers collectors wearing T-shirts lauding the weekend’s theme “Gathering of the orange,” 11,534 people flowed through the gates of the 40th annual threshing show west of Albert City in Buena Vista County.

Visitors saw steam-powered and gas-powered tractors working in the fields, demonstrating how farming was accomplished back in the day when those machines were on the cutting edge of technology.

Walking about the grounds Friday was Karl Lind, of Albert City, who co-founded the event back in 1975 with neighbor Keith Sundblad. Then it was a one-day educational event for younger generations.

“We thought our kids needed a little taste of what we had to go through,” Lind said.

From those early years of a few horse teams and old tractors, the event has grown to three days of interpretive events of early rural Iowa life including blacksmithing, rural schooling and haying. There’s even a general store. And there’s a former gas station that serves as the show’s nerve center. The local landmark was moved a half mile to the site, Lind said.

Jim Bernard, a blacksmith from Holmesville, Neb., hammers on a wall hook for visitors in the blacksmith building.

“It was a very busy place.”

The 2010 event features an Allis-Chalmers show. In 2011 it will feature J.I. Case; in 2012, International-Harvester; and it 2013 Minneapolis-Moline.

Lind said what started as a show for his children has expanded to the grandchildren, who are also involved in driving the old tractors and helping in any way they can.

He acknowledged that there are other, bigger shows, but said, “We wanted a small event with as many working exhibits as possible.

“We keep it for the entire family, something they can take home and talk about what they’ve seen with the grandparents, get a pulse of history. It’s not just for entertainment.”

Blade smith Ed Linhardt, of Spirit Lake, displays a hunting knife he made to Tom Snyder, of Storm Lake, and his son Kendall Snyder, 9.

After four decades, Lind said the show never gets old for him.

“There’s always something new being brought in or being exhibited. You never know what’s coming next.”

In the blacksmith shop, three smiths worked their forges Friday, hammering out ironwork for an attentive crowd.

Jim Bernard, of Holmesville, Neb., made a decorative wall hook.

“It’s really a glorified nail,” he said, grinning.

Delmar Carlson, of rural Albert City, demonstrates his 1972 Allis-Chalmer combine as it works through the wheat field. He's pulling it with his 60-horsepower Allis-Chalmers 170.

Next to him was Ed Linhardt, of Spirit Lake, who is a blade smith. He showed visitors an array of knives he hammered from raw materials in his shop. He’s made Bowie and hunting knives, all in the same manner, with hardened razor-sharp edges that taper into softer edges that lend flexibility to the blades.

“I can bend these 90 degrees without them breaking” Linhardt said.

Out in the field, which is the heartbeat of the show, Delmar Carlson, of rural Albert City, prepared to run his Allis-Chalmers combine, of 1972 vintage, through the wheat field. It was being pulled by his 60-horsepower Allis-Chalmers 170. Carlson combined small grains with the machine, including soybeans.

Just ahead of Carlson was a McCormick-Derring binder cutting a 10-foot swath through the grain and binding it into sheaves for threshing.

Elsewhere, J.C. Bean, of Albert City, cut a mammoth trench in the wheat stubble with a giant John Deere Killefer, Model 25 single plow, which was manufactured in California, .

A sea of orange machines sit in the brilliant sun at the Albert City Threshermen's & Collector Show as they host Allis-Chalmers tractors and other machinery.

On the fringe of the field, the boilers of steam-powered tractors were being stoked in preparation for their turns as working exhibits.

Contact Larry Kershner at (515) 573-2141 or editor@messengernews.net.

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