BURNETT CORNERS — While some parts of the area had rain and storms on the weekend, the Dodge County Antique Power Club enjoyed sunny days and only a shower of rain on Saturday evening when they hosted their annual show at the club’s farm at Burnett Corners in early August.
Visitors saw demonstrations of numerous pieces of equipment including threshing machines, stone crushers, steam engines, blacksmithing and more. Throughout the grounds old machines motored around, prompting questions from curious visitors. On Aug. 3, old-time tractor buffs tested the power of their tractors and their skills in driving them during the tractor pull.
Oliver tractors and Bolens equipment were featured and had the spot of honor in the center of the grounds and in the special display barn.
Several years ago the club received, as a donation, a historic barn that was moved to the grounds and completely restored. The project was completed this year with the addition of the barn quilt and is now the display area for a vast collection of milking machines and equipment as well as other barn tools and gadgets.
The restored school house, also donated to the club and moved to the grounds, houses numerous smaller items of interest to families attending the event.
A permanent blacksmith shop on the grounds served not only as a place to demonstrate the craft but also as a place to repair pieces of the old-time equipment.
Collectors come from all over the state and surrounding states to the show. Some come just to see. Some come to bring their own equipment and enjoy the opportunity to use it and talk with others about it.
Throughout the grounds at the Dodge County show there were numerous steam engines, full size and scale models. The machines performed the power to operate a variety of pieces of equipment while visitors watched and reminisced.
Jeff Bloemers came from Sheboygan County with his half-scale steam engine. He connected it with a belt to a buck saw to provide the power to cut slabs of wood coming off the larger saw that was in the building next to him cutting logs.
Bloemers has been interested in the old-time steam engines since he saw the first one when he was just 12 years old.
“I fell in love with the machine and always wanted one but it isn’t always practical to own a full-size steam engine,” he said.
He said when he was in his 20s he attended a show in Illinois and saw a half-scale model and became interested in buying one. He found someone who made them and eventually located one he could buy used. Ten years later the same man who sold him the steam engine also sold him a half-scale saw mill.
He has had his equipment for 20 years and has also gotten involved with the Wisconsin Historical Steam Association’s Steam School. Each year that organization teaches 40 students how to build and operate a steam engine.
Bloemers, who is one of the instructors at the three-day event, said students range in age from 12 years old to some in their 80s.
One of the things the students learn is about the safety of these engines. Machining skills are needed for the mechanical part of building a steam engine — whether full size or scale model — but welding the boiler requires special certification as a welder. Steam engine boilers must also be inspected for safety before they are put to use.
This will be the 16th year for the school, and it will be held at Edgar. Prior to this year it has been held at the Rock River show in Edgerton.