of Monroe, Washington
The Sky Valley Stock & Antique Tractor Club held its first antique tractor display in Monroe on Saturday, November 24, 1984, on the corner of US #2 and Old Owen Rd at the L' Danco Realty, 520 E. Main Street. The young club held its early meetings in member's homes and later in the back office of the L' Danco Realty. These early planning meetings were informal and exploratory in nature. Gerald Schmidt, Jerry Senner, Jim Johnson, Joe Bollinger, Dennis Proudfoot, George Houston, and Mike Neuharth attended these early meetings. Meeting notification was by postcard. A post card saved by Bill Wojciechowski shows the agenda for the December 9, 1985 meeting was "tractor show and pulling contest in April". Ardyth Houston sent out the postcards. Later meetings were also held in the Monroe P.U.D. auditorium and old City Hall before the Club had its own clubroom. Mike Neuharth was the Club president in the early years. Static tractor displays were held at the Evergreen State Fair in 1986 and '87. Tractors were stored in the horse barn at the Fairgrounds. Jerry Senner was elected Club president in 1988.
In 1988, Joe Bollinger went back to South Dakota, where he was from, and bought the Oliver Red River threshing machine on August 9th, paying $720. Vern Stroud, in a rented truck, went back to South Dakota to bring it back. To get wheat to thresh, a McCormick binder and Jerry Senner's LA tractor were taken over to a field in Waterville that Larry Nelson, the Douglas County Fairgrounds manager, had helped arrange. The wheat was cut and bound and brought back in tarp-covered pickup trucks. Jim Johnson, Gerald Schmidt, Leonard Case, Harold Hamblin, Denny Middlesworth, Joe Bollinger, Jerry Senner, and Jerry's three sons, Steve, Chris, and Mike all participated. By the time the wheat arrived back in Monroe, most of the tarps were in shreds. Three wheat threshing demonstrations were scheduled during the Evergreen State Fair from August 31 to September 2 at 6:30 PM. The threshing operation was held at the north end of the grandstand with George Schwartz’s 1916 Minneapolis steamer. Don McCune, creator and narrator of KOMO-TV's Exploration Northwest series, and "Voice of the Evergreen State Fair" did the narration of the threshing operation. Unfortunately, on the first day, the swirling winds blew the straw and chaff into the grandstand, on the spectators, and on the Charley Pride band instruments that were set up for their 8 PM performance. That terminated the wheat threshing demonstrations at the Evergreen State Fair! Fortunately, however, through this event, a significant friendship with Elmer Frohning developed and a threshing demonstration was held on the Frohning farm on September 15, 1988.
The following year, 1989, the Frohnings won the Dairy Family of the Year award and at their Open House on July 15th the Club had a static tractor display. The Club also planned another threshing bee for later that year. On August 12th and 13th 1989, the threshing bee was held at the Frohning Dairy in Tualco. Joe Bollinger was Chairman. Admission was free. This was the Club's first threshing bee and tractor show. The success of the show compelled the Club to file for Nonprofit Corporation status. The Articles of Incorporation were drawn up and filed by Bob Zahler and accepted by the Secretary of State on November 16, 1989. The Club received its own UBI, Unified Business Identifier. Joe Bollinger was president, Gerald Schmidt, vice president and Ken Rice, treasurer. Harold Hamblin, Dennis Proudfoot, and Wayne Dickinson were the three directors. Wayne passed away during the first year and George Houston took his place and Leonard Case became treasurer.
Building on the experience of the 1989 Show, another Show was held at the Frohning Farm the following year, 1990, with a $1 admission charged. Later, that year, the shed at the Frohnings was renovated into the clubhouse and a place to store tractors and the threshing equipment.
In 1990, the Club built the lean-to for more storage area. 1990 was also the year of the big flood in the Skykomish valley; 5 1/2 feet at the shed. We found one wagon and the outhouse in the river, and another wagon caught on a fence. Meetings were held at the Tualco Grange. Joe Bollinger was President in 1990 and 1991. In 1991, water, electricity, and air lines were installed and the kitchen opened. At the Show, Newell Kelly & Band furnished the music and George Swartz brought his steamer.
Gerald Schmidt was elected President in 1992 and in 1993. In June 1992, the Model T was running with the help of Joe Bollinger, Walt Darrow, Denny Middlesworth, and Larry Smith. It was painted black with barn red wheels. The Model T's first display was at the Duvall Days Parade. In 1992, Denny Middlesworth was Show Chairman and Show admission was raised to $1.50. Bunny Wotherspoon published the first Sky Valley Stock & Antique Tractor Club newsletter in November 1992 (Vol. 1, No.1). Club meetings were also held in the fire hall in old City Hall. In December 1992, the first order for Club jackets was sent in. The name HITCHPIN was adopted and used in the March 1993 issue (Vol 1, No.5). The CO-OP, Cockshutt, and Blackhawk were the first featured tractors in the 1993 Show. The Nile Temple Clown, Duran Bullock, was at the Show. The kitchen operated in 1993 in the "spruced-up" shed. Grace Valliant, Margie Bollinger, Ardyth Houston, Rose Richards and Margaret Schmidt worked the kitchen in the early Shows.
In the fall of 1993, Bob Zahler applied for federal tax-exempt status to the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS designated the Club a 501(c) 5 tax-exempt organization on September 3, 1993. The Club participated at the Kelsey Creek Farm Fair in Bellevue for the first time in October 1993. Club By-Laws were prepared and issued on October 27, 1993.
In early 1994, Norm Hawkins took over the Presidency from John Wotherspoon, and Denny Middlesworth took over the Secretary position from Art Berg. The shop ceiling was insulated and covered with plywood. The Cat 30 was painted by Larry Smith. In July, the loading dock was moved from near the barn to the area down by Gerald's driveway. The Show had a miniature logging exhibit and the kitchen featured homemade fruit pies. The Club raffled off a quilt. In an attempt to save time, postage, and printing costs, our HITCHPIN and Northwest Vintage Iron's Vintage News were combined since Bunny and Bob Wotherspoon did both club newsletters and their time was stretched to the limit due to serious illness in the family. After a few months, newsletters were again separated. The 1994 roster listed 80 Clubmembers. A video was made of the '94 Show. Jim Johnson, one of the Clubs founding members, who had moved to Entiat, moved to Frazer, Minnesota to live with his sister.
In 1995, with Gerald Schmidt back at the helm, the 24'x36' addition was built. Walt and Jaqui Darrow had their 86th birthdays; Walt on February 14, and Jaqui on February 15. Fourteen tractors showed up for spring plowing and 32 acres were plowed in four hours. The announcer’s booth was built and magnetic numbers used on the tractors. The Club participated in the Duvall Days Parade, the Sultan Shindig and Kelsey Creek. Ralph Hall came to the Show with his miniature farm layout and the Monroe Historical Society participated with a local history exhibit and quilt raffle. A record nineteen new Club members signed up at the Show, including Bill Wojciechowski, who rejoined the Club. Five more members joined during the Evergreen State Fair and a pedal tractor was raffled off. A picture of our Show was in Successful Farming magazine. A 4-foot flood also visited that year and the outhouse floated away.
In February 1996, 18 inches of water flooded the clubroom and some Club meetings were held at the historic Hollywood Schoolhouse. An electric starter was put on the Model T. 1996 was also the year the Blacksmith Shop was started. Allen Kostelecky joined the Club. Ron Chew was Club President in 1996 and 1997. Editor Vilas Braun added a bit of color in the October 1996 HITCHPIN for the first time.
In January 1997, the machine shed roof collapsed under the unusually heavy wet snow load that took its toll of many buildings in both eastern and western Washington. Walt and Jaqui Darrows' birthdays were again celebrated at the February meeting. Walt was made an Honorary Member for 1997. The first Spring Gas-Up was held at the Fred Meyers parking lot. Nile Temple clown Duran Bullock passed away at 75.
In 1998, Al Miller was elected Club President. The growing Club lost two valuable supporters, Wally Andersen on January 11th, and Elmer Frohning on April 16th. The second Spring Gas-Up was held again at Fred Meyers. Jim Farkas, Abe Weins, Al Miller, and Gerald Schmidt had a display of 10 tractors at the Draft Horse Show. The Club participated in the Arlington Fly-in for the first time and had 15 tractors there. Club participation was arranged by Bernie McMillan for this event. George Houston's new kiddie train was popular at the Show. Club membership now numbered 127.
In 1999, with Jim Vaughn, President, the Club purchased the Allis Chalmers, Model D-17 tractor which had a front loader attachment. The Club was invited back to the Arlington Fly-in. Also, took part in parades in Everett, Arlington, and Sultan. Lance and Diane Koty became the new HITCHPIN editors. The HITCHPIN was produced quarterly in 1999. Bruce Ketchum built the windmill for the Club.
In 2000, Jim Vaughn was reelected President. The Spring Gas-Up was again held at Fred Meyers. The yard light and pole was installed for the announcer’s booth. Tom Knorr did the hookup. The Club participated in the Everett 4th of July parade, the Arlington Fly-in, Kelsey Creek, and the Evergreen State Fair, and for the first time, the Pumpkin Patch. The AC tractor was painted the original orange by Larry Smith. Several new canopies were purchased and the Threshing Bee and Tractor Show were now expanded to three days and the admission rose to $4. Jerry Senner was the Show Chairman. Joyce Knorr and Nancy Senner became co-editors of the HITCHPIN, now produced bi-monthly. Trustee Lynn Allen passed away in November.
Herman Lemke was elected President in 2001. The Spring Gas-Up was held at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds. In the spring, the new clubroom/kitchen was planned for the south bay. Denny Middlesworth prepared the drawings and the materials list and the project was soon underway. Although many contributed to the project, seems Wayne Coleman was always there working and planning. Tom Knorr did the electrical work. Denny did the plumbing. The kitchen was finished just in time for the 2001 Show. Not having building permits posed an unexpected problem but we were given a year’s grace to clear that issue. The kitchen grille fire extinguishing system was finished just the day before the Show opened. Jim Vaughn was Show chairman. Scott Franklin chaired the Tractor Pull. The Club also participated at Arlington, Kelsey Creek, and the Pumpkin Patch. During 2001, we lost three Club members: former Club President and Show Chairman Joe Bollinger; Wayne Shira; and Grace Valliant. In August 2001, Brian Johnson established the Club's website: www.skyvalleyantiquetractor.com. Show photos and the Club activities were now posted on our website.
In 2002, Dean VanPeursem became the Club Webmaster and greatly expanded the website content and linkage. Leonard Case got an American flag and stand for the new clubroom. The Spring Gas-Up was held at the Fairgrounds. Also in 2002, the building, plumbing, and structural permits were signed off by the county. In July, the concrete floor in the Blacksmith Shop was poured along with the windmill footings. Gil Winans chaired the Arlington Fly-in and set a model for scheduling, coordinating, and organization. Julie Pohl became Editor, taking over from Joyce Knorr, who was editor for the past three years. Leonard Case was appointed Club Safety Officer. Beth Heia made many needed signs for the Show. Newcomer Wolfe Pohl was Show Chairman. The Club bought four 10x20 canopies. Ralph Hall now used the old shop/clubroom for his display. A program was prepared for Show attendees and a swap meet was held at the Show. Diane Tharnock and Gloria Wolter ran the kitchen. The Club participated in Kelsey Creek, Granite Falls, and the Pumpkin Patch. Char and Herman Lemke revealed they will be leaving for the Walla Walla area. Char was Club Treasurer for the past four years and Herman concluded two years as Club President.
Bill Glover was elected President in 2003. Tractor Pull rules were finalized and published. The Spring Gas-Up, chaired by Keith Zylstra, was held in the City Park in Gold Bar for the first time. The rainy weather at the Gas-Up persisted right into the spring plowing. Dick Galusha passed away in April. Harold (Butch) Kent donated a Case forklift to the Club in June. By the following month, Abe Wiens replaced the blown head gasket and did the valves, carb, and brakes. The machine immediately was a very useful addition to the Club equipment. The 2003 Show admitted seniors free on Friday and also featured a Garden Tractor Pull and a Blindfold Race. Bill Tester fabricated a mini sled just like the 'big boys' have. Gordon Wicklund exhibited his meticulously restored 1918 Allis Chalmers, the featured tractor. 130 tractors registered for the Show parade. Abe Wiens and Jim Farkas co-chaired the Silent Auction. Gloria and Diane ran the kitchen in 2003 and '04 Shows. In August, Char and Herman Lemke were honored with a plaque for their many years of dedicated service to the Club.
Early in 2004, Walt Darrow, our oldest Club member, celebrated his 95th birthday with us in February. Mike Kelly chaired the second Spring Gas-Up in Gold Bar. Virginia Rogers and Debra Gomez took over preparation of the HITCHPIN. The 2004 Show had spot radio announcements and live broadcasts by station KYCW ‘Country 1090'. Area nursing homes were invited to bring their residents on Friday for rides around the grounds. Walt Darrow rode in the Model 'T' in the Show parade and was also at the Evergreen State Fair. Ralph Hall donated a scale model pull-type combine to the Club. Tim Vaughn took over the Club's website. Brad and Cyndee Shuman managed the Club's exhibit at the Fair. The pedal tractors were a big hit. The Allis Chalmers D-17 engine was overhauled by Abe Wiens and Jim Farkas in the old clubroom. A tractor pull was held at Stocker's field along SR9 in mid-October, but under trying weather conditions. Bill Glover concluded his second year as President.
Arnie Odgaard was elected President in 2005. The Spring Gas-up was held again at the Gold Bar City Park, chaired by Keith Zylstra. The Studebaker and Military Vehicle Clubs also displayed their vehicles. A wagon was purchased in the Lynden Auction. The "freezer room" was built in the Frohning barn, led by Wayne Coleman and Herman Rekow. Herman, then a non-member volunteer, was granted Honorary Club Membership for 2005. Jim Farkas sandblasted and painted the 'new' wagon frame. The bed of the blue wagon was put on the new frame. Abe donated four tires for the wagon. Jim Farkas also painted the Case forklift in its original brilliant orange. The bucket on the Allis Chalmers D-18 was rebuilt by Mike Bywater. Signs recognizing Elmer Frohning, pioneer Tualco farmer and Club supporter, were installed by Bill Dettrich. By Show time, all five bays in the equipment shed had been paved. Beth Heia made more signs for the Show. Oliver was the featured Show tractor that year. The Show was blessed with exceptional weather, attendance and revenue. Wolfe Pohl continued his unbroken reign as Show Chairman. Julie Pohl created the stunning graphics on the Show brochures and posters. Denise Miller and Janell French operated the kitchen. Steve Nemnich and Virginia Rogers chaired the Pumpkin Patch. Jerry Senner secured an agreement with the ESF to locate the Western Heritage Center at the Fairgrounds. Jack Werckman chaired the repairs of Betty's greenhouse. With our investment in the Showgrounds and the long range commitments needed for the annual Show, we secured a lease agreement with Betty Frohning for our mutual benefit. In 2005, we lost two Founding Clubmembers: Trustee, Harold Hamblin passed away during Fair-time and Walt Darrow left us in late October.
The 2006 Spring Gas-Up was held at the expansive Clearview Nursery for the first time. Arnie Odegaard had the kitchen exhaust system reworked. Doug and Virginia Rogers celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with us at the February meeting. Marty Korf offered to fabricate a tractor scale. By June, the scale platform was well underway and was completed by July ready for use at the Show. Leonard Case rebuilt the green wagon. Tim Vaughn, who took over the website, had Anya Zolotusky upgrade the website and software. The 2006 Show was largest to date in attendance and revenue with perfect weather. Again, Wolfe Pohl was Show Chairman. Brad and Cyndee Shuman conducted the Club activities at the Evergreen State Fair. Sadly, Ralph Hall, who graphically displayed the transition of agriculture from horse power to Diesel power in each of the four seasons at our Show for several years, passed away in early September. To update our kitchen appliances, the Club ordered several new refrigerators and freezers for the 2007 Show.
A couple of 2007 Floods moved Club meetings to Jeno's Restaurant and the Tualco Grange while the Clubroom cleanup could take place. Spring Gas-Up again was held at the attractive Clearview Nursery. A garden tractor pull was held there too. The nursery also had two steam tractors running with Wayne Coleman's wood. Bob Gamage provided the HITCHPIN also by e-Mail. Leonard Case built a new wagon. Another storage room was built in the Frohning barn. Jack Werckman obtained a 1978, 21 foot Prowler travel trailer and remodeled it into the Club sales trailer. It was licensed and first used at the Arlington Fly-In. JD was the featured tractor at the Show that year. Marty Korf chaired the Tractor Pull. Barnett Tractor donated use of scraping and pullback tractors, as well as a 1/16 scale JD430 tractor for the raffle. Ralph Hall's multi-era agricultural layout was exhibited for the last time by his son, Brad. Gordon Wicklund prepared a CD of Show photos which was shown at the Club dinner. The Club donated to the Farm Bureau relief effort for the tragic flooding of the Chehalis River valley.
In 2008, Al Miller took over the President's chair. Beth and Harold Heia expanded the Blacksmith shop over to the sign shed and Marty Korf made ramps for the scale. The Spring Gas-Up, co-chaired by Arnie Odegaard and Bob Eddy, shared the Clearview Nursery grounds with the Chevy Club. The Club participated in the National E.D.G.E. & T.A. at the Skagit County Fairgrounds in Mount Vernon with a garden tractor pull. Marty Korf hauled up the scale and Wayne Coleman hauled the sled and weights. In July, the Frohning barn was pressure washed, primed, and painted red. Gutters and downspouts were installed on the east side. The 20th Annual Show had a three-horse color guard each day and the Mexican Dancing Horses on Saturday. The kitchen staff now had a cash register and sported new aprons. The Furguson Club also participated in the Show. The Club bought Bill Tester's riding lawn mower. Gordon Wicklund chaired the Pumpkin Patch and Jim Vaughn chaired Kelsey Creek for the 16th year of participation.
In 2009, with Steve Grimes as President, a Memorial for Jo Tester was held at the Clubroom in late February. Snohomish held their 150th anniversary that year and the Club participated with a static tractor display in March, a parade in April, and a tractor display and the pedal tractors at Snohomish Station in September. The Club purchased Bill Tester's garden tractor sled, his kiddie rides, and his grain-grinding wagon. In spite of all efforts, the State property we use for parking and the tractor pull was 'up in the air' for the entire first half of the year. Finally, in July we had a signed lease. Also in July, Kim Lewis chaired a garden tractor pull at the King County Fairgrounds in Enumclaw, won by Mrs. Al Vickers. The baler was modified and now PTO driven. For the Show, which featured IHC, Farmall, and McCormick-Deering, we contracted out the food service to Neil Goehri who served a beef or pork sandwich plate and corn. We sold pie, ice cream, pop, and root beer floats. Vivian Milner coordinated the kitchen activities. We had square dancers, a Cub Scout Color Guard, and a guitar player at the Show. Sally Wiegand had the petting zoo. Farmers Equipment in Burlington supplied a grading tractor for the tractor pull. The threshed wheat was sold to Wolfkill. Jim Vaughn provided the tool display at the Evergreen State Fair and again handled the Kelsey Creek Farm Fair. Gordon Wicklund again managed the Pumpkin Patch.
With the 2010 Officer's and Trustee's nearly unchanged, a number of projects got off to a fast start. Wayne Coleman recommended replacing the old registration canopy with two rigid metal shelters. By February, they were up and set on runners. Another project was to shore up the barn floor. Two piers were poured in mid-March and by mid-April, Bill Toftdahl, Marty Korf, and Steve Grimes installed the supporting posts. We suffered hand-wringing anxiety again, not knowing where the Show tractor pull and car parking can be accommodated. By April, we got the two-acre WDF&W lease for the wheat acreage. The Woerkhovens got the larger lease and graciously let us use the land we needed. Several Clubmembers participated in the CPR Class at Monroe Firehouse. The Club participated in the Snohomish Easter Parade on April 3. Twelve tractors and a garden tractor were entered. Kim and Jerry Lewis chaired our participation in the Spring Fair at Enumclaw with a garden tractor pull and static tractor display. The Annual Spring Gas-Up was at the Clearview Nursery. Mike Wiegand organized the transport of the Lakewood Youth Football team and cheerleaders in three wagons in the evening Marysville Strawberry Parade. Leonard Case and Harold Heia collaborated in building a new wagon. Alan Kostelecky and Jim Farkas painted the garden tractor sled. On June 14, 2010, Abe Wiens passed away. Most of our membership attended the graveside services at the Monroe I.O.O.F. Cemetery. Our 22nd Show was dedicated to Abe. Todd, his son, drove Abe's tractor in the parade. The weekends before and after our Show were rainy, but we were blessed with fantastic weather, great attendance, and record income. Bob Albers chaired the threshing and Al Vickers tractor ran the thresher. Kelsey Creek was cut down to one day this year due to Bellevue budget cuts. Jim Vaughn conducted our 18th Kelsey Creek! Bill Glover located new teeth for the rake and Al Miller put them in. The Caterpiller 30, which was at the Jerry Senner's museum during the past winter, wound up back there when it was sold to Arnie Odegaard, who then donated it to the Western Heritage Museum. Bob Gamage made a short video of the Show that he posted on the internet. Gordon Wicklund ran the Pumpkin Patch again. A metal building with a concrete floor was planned to replace the old lean-to. Founding Clubmember Jim Johnson passed away on September 10, 2010.
The Club continues to hold the Spring Gas-Up, and in July, supports the Arlington Fly-In. In August, the Annual Threshing Bee and Tractor Show are held and continue to increase in attendance and activities each year in spite of an occasionally rainy day. The Club has a tractor exhibit at Evergreen State Fair and holds the pedal tractor drawing at the close of the Fair on Labor Day. The Club also supports the Marysville Rotary Pumpkin Patch in October, as well as several parades during the year. The Club also makes annual donations to local senior centers and food banks.