Antique club celebrating 50 years at Burnett show

August 1, 2018

BURNETT -- The Dodge County Antique Power Club will be celebrating its 50th year during this year’s show Friday through Sunday at the club’s Burnett Corners farm.

The show will feature Minneapolis Moline brands of tractors along with Cushman scooters and engines.

The club recently gathered to present commemorative metal plaques to three of the remaining original directors of the club. The metal plaque, made by member Russ Sponem, represents an early 1900 Northwestern Steam Engine that was owned by another member, Bob Frank.

The club began in 1969 when the Wisconsin Antique Engine Club, which had been showing at the Dodge County Fairgrounds for several years, announced they were moving. The announcement was disappointing to quite a few people who had become addicted to showing their engines and equipment.

Twelve people from the area met that summer and began the work of setting up a charter for a new local club and the Dodge County Antique Power Show was formed. There were seven directors and there was a stipulation that no more than two could be from outside the county.

Original charter officers included president Jack Rhodes Sr., Beaver Dam; vice president Don Frank, Fox Lake; secretary Robert Frank, Fox Lake; treasurer Bill Lanzendorf, Beaver Dam; and directors Lee Wanie, Horicon; Oscar Frank, Fox Lake and Carl Messer, Beaver Dam.

The directors compiled a list of people they felt might be interested in joining the club and sent out invitations to join. Ads were also placed in local newspapers and on the radio.

At the original meeting there were 14 annual memberships and five lifetime memberships issued, bringing the membership up to 38.

During the club’s second annual meeting the official name of the club was changed to Dodge County Antique Power Club as it remains today. The number of directors was increased from seven to nine with three from outside the county allowed.

The date for the annual show was set for the first weekend of August as it is today.

The first show was held in September 1969 on the Don Frank farm at Fox Lake. Robert Frank’s garage served as food stand and he provided water and electricity. The adjoining Kowbow farm was used for parking.

In 1970 the show moved to the John Schoenfeld farm at Beaver Dam and remained there until 1974 when the farm was sold.

The show then moved to the Dodge County Fairgrounds where it remained until the club purchased its own farm at Burnett Corners in 1993. The first show at the farm was in 1994.

The club received a donation of a steel building which they put up on the 65 acre farm and then set out to make plans to build restrooms establish gravel roads and add more.

When the club purchased the farm then president Dick Kraemer said the club was having problems securing dates at the fairgrounds because of conflicts with other activities. They didn’t want to change dates from year to year because they didn’t want to compete with other existing power shows.

He also said the farm provided a place where members could bring their old-time implements to put on demonstrations in a real-life farm setting.

“We wanted to try to preserve some of these implements and ways of doing things for future generations to see,” Kraemer said.

The club then acquired a stationary steam engine dating back to the early 1920s. It came from the old Monarch Range in Beaver Dam. The old giant was built by Allis-Chalmers in West Allis and is so big that the flywheel alone is 12 feet in diameter. It had been in storage until the club acquired it. Since it was so big it could not be displayed until the club had a permanent location to keep it.

In the years that followed the club has built numerous permanent structures including a blacksmith shop, sawmill, windmill, and most recently a barn. A school house was moved to the farm from Jefferson County and serves as a permanent storage area for smaller antiques, household items and toys.

Over the years the club has acquired numerous pieces of unique equipment and the farm provided a place to keep the pieces and demonstrate them.

Each year before the show members gather to harvest grain, make grain shocks and store them on wagons to be used for threshing demonstrations during the show.

The farm is large enough to provide plenty of parking during the show, room for displays of equipment brought to the show and some field demonstrations.

Besides the various demonstrations, the show will feature a tractor pull, children’s activities and a giant flea market. The school house displays will feature vintage toys including dolls, doll houses, rocking horses, trains, trucks, tractors, games and mechanical toys. There will also be fiber arts demonstrations throughout the day.

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