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Belmond preparing for annual power show

By Staff | Aug 5, 2011

Tom Stadtlander, of Belmond, empties a wagon of oats into a bin. The oats were combined this week on ground owned by the Belmond Area Arts Council in preparation for its annual Prairie Homestead Power Show.

BELMOND – Plans are set for the 22nd annual Prairie Homestead Antique Power and Country Craft Show at the farm owned by the Belmond Arts Council. Activity is increasing at the farm as the show’s dates of Aug. 19 through Aug. 21 nears.

Where the oats have been harvested at the show’s site northeast of Belmond in Wright County, the baling of straw is under way. What was not harvested by combine has been made into bundles waiting for the weekend-long show when they will be fed into a threshing machine the way it was done a century ago.

Dave Nelson, of Belmond, is a local farmer and manager of the show. Nelson said this year will feature two events of importance.

One event is the national plowing contest on Friday and Saturday that is sanctioned by the USAPO, the United States of America Ploughing Organization. Nelson said that there will be 40 contestants from 20 states entered in the competition.

Entrants will be competing in the roll over and conventional plow with the winners of the Belmond event participating at the next level, the international competition held in Europe.

Bundles of oats have been arranged in shocks awaiting to be put on a wagon in preparation for the upcoming Prairie Homestead Power Show northeast of Belmond in Wright County.

The Iowa competition has been at Belmond for several years, but the national competition only is held in Iowa every 15-20 years, said Nelson, making the upcoming weekend’s plowing competition an honor for the show.

The national competition will be held in the harvested and baled oats field next to the machinery display area. Nelson said a minimum of 40 acres of ground is needed for the competition with the show having 70 acres available.

The second event of importance will be the display of Massey-Harris and Massey-Ferguson tractors and equipment. This will be done with the newly formed Iowa chapter of the Massey Collectors. It’s their first show as an organization. Kurt Kelsey, of Iowa Falls, is the president of the Iowa chapter. “It will be a nice display,” said show manger Dave Nelson.

Nelson said there will be a Massey combine that was part of the Massey Harvest Brigade of the 1940s when late in World War II both manpower and raw materials were in short supply.

Massey-Harris told the government that its model 21 self-propelled combine was efficient both in the amount of material needed to build and as a harvester. The War Production Board authorized the building of 500 newly developed model 21 combines that were sold to custom operators who promised to harvest at least 2,000 acres with each machine.

The program was successful showing the efficiency of the self-propelled combine in freeing up other equipment for use elsewhere and harvest was completed during a time of shortages.

There will be an open class antique tractor pull on Aug. 20. Nelson said any antique tractor may compete. “We don’t care what it looks like,” Nelson said.

Nelson is planning on having some corn that can be picked during the show using two tractor-mounted corn pickers. Last spring he planted corn on the farm site with a 70-day maturity to have corn ready for the show.

During the three-day run there will be the displays of machinery, gas engines, demonstrations using power equipment and draft horses, livestock herding using dogs, craft show, food and music.

Each year’s show has an attendance of approximately 3,000 people and Nelson said this year he is hoping for more. Admission is a one-time fee of $7 that is good for the weekend run. Children under 12 are free.

The money raised by the power show is used for support of projects by the Belmond Area Arts Council at the Jenson-Meacham Memorial Art Center located on the farm site.

“We’ll have lots of fun,” Nelson said.

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