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Fun begins Saturday at Drake Threshing Show

Submitted Photo An 80 HP Case steam engine once owned by Louis Markusen of the Towner area is a staple of the Drake Threshing Show. Purchased in 1916 from J.I. Case in Minot, the tractor has been featured in the show for nearly 50 years.

DRAKE — The 53rd annual Drake Threshing Show will be held Saturday and Sunday in Drake.

The popular consignment auction on Saturday begins at 9 a.m. Breakfast is served at 7 a.m. both mornings in the Balfour Depot.

Threshing show enthusiasts have come and gone and entertainment has changed over the years, but one element that has remained as a foundation of the show from its very early years is the presence of a 80 HP Case steam engine, once owned by Louis Markusen of the Towner area. Markusen purchased the tractor July 13, 1916, from J.I. Case in Minot. The tractor was shipped by rail to Karlsruhe.

The steam engine served the family’s farm and custom operation in the Karlsruhe and Denbigh areas through the 1949 threshing year.

The steam engine was shedded that fall and did not reappear until the Drake Threshing Association purchased it for its annual show. Albert Bossert, part-owner in a John Deere dealership, learned of its existence and was instrumental in the change of ownership in 1972.

The Drake Threshing Association came about in March 1971, after a dinner event that included a film recalling previous, informal threshing events. Association records list 160 charter members.

The first official threshing bee was held on Oct. 3-4, 1970. The bee was held west of Drake on the then Joe Frieson farm.

The association acquired the Balfour Depot as a gift from the Soo Line Railroad and moved it one-half mile west of Drake in 1971.

In 1974, weather was so cold that threshing was done by volunteers dressed in parkas and snowmobile suits. The first divided event was in 1976, when members threshed the W.O. Krumwiede Antique Show and Threshing Bee east of Voltaire on the first day before continuing the show at Drake the second day.

In the early 2000s, tractor and pickup pulls became popular. Adult games, such as the frying pan throw, also have been popular.

In 2015, the first annual consignment auction saw 11 tractors to be sold. Those numbers grew to 56 tractors, mostly antiques, as well as grain trucks, vintage vehicles, antique swathers, augers and anything farm-related. Buyers have come from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Montana and Dakotas.

In 2020, the association acquired a sawmill, and demonstrations on shingle making were held. Corn shucking has been popular, and now visitors can watch stationary wire tie baling, which originally used a special “wire,” but baling twine now is used. Master welder, Dean Hagen, of Maddock, a regular in the working blacksmith shop on the threshing grounds, continues to demonstrate.

A new attraction last year was a 1-1/2 horse JD Hit n’ Miss engine that churned five gallons of ice cream at a time. Pioneer Metal Sales of Karlsruhe provided the cold treat. They will be setting up at the 2021 show.

The bee also will include a daily noon parade, vendor show and slow races. Adult and children’s games will take place Saturday, and a church service and kiddie pedal tractor pull are scheduled for Sunday.

Admission is $10 at the gate or $8 in advance from the association. Children ages 8 and younger are admitted free. Visit the Drake Threshing Association on Facebook for details.

The 2021 show is dedicated to the memories of Terry Anderson, Sharon Bossart and Rueben Miller.

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