by Paul Rignell
The Nowthen Threshing Show is always sure to attract new exhibitors and guests as well as those people who attend every year.
Among the special first-timers coming to town for next week’s 43rd annual show, fourth-generation International Harvester tractor owner Nate Schlief, 37, of Grand Forks, N.D., expects to be joined by 20 other members of his IH collectors club, Minn-Dak Chapter 26.
Schlief grew up around IH machinery owned by his grandfather, Alder, and father, Douglas, on separate farms near Glenwood, Minn. His great-grandfather, Henry, had bought the Schlief men’s first IH tractor in the 1930s after starting his farming career on the backs of horses.
Schlief said that legacy has had something to do with his family’s allegiance to one tractor manufacturer, but they also built strong relationships with local IH dealers, he said.
The product, too, is strong.
“It is good, quality equipment,” said Nate Schlief, who serves as president of his Minn-Dak chapter. “It has stood up, and lasted in the field. You can put a lot of hours on them (the IH brand). They’re just good, well-made machines.”
IH set a standard that Henry and Alder Schlief, both of whom are now deceased, had appreciated and could not get from other companies, Nate Schlief said. The early IH machines were equipped with foot clutches, and the older Schlief men found those easier to operate than the hand clutches that came with competitors’ tractors. Foot clutches are now standard throughout the industry, Schlief said.
His chapter members attend three or more fairs or threshing shows together per season, which reaches its peak in August and September. They have been to the Wadena County Fair this year, and Schlief said they have shows at Finn Creek (New York Mills), Dalton, Minn., and Albany Pioneer Days yet on their schedule.
Douglas and Nate Schlief, father and son, will be bringing IH tractors, all owned by Douglas, to the Nowthen show, including a 1951 H Farmall, a 1957 350 Farmall, a 1962 IH 404 (with mounted plow) and a 1968 IH 544.
After the threshing show season wraps up, Nate Schlief still has his career in the industry, which is now in a different era.
A graduate of North Dakota State University with a degree in agricultural systems management, he has worked for the past three years as a precision farming specialist. He sells and installs GPS technology for today’s tractors and combines, and he instructs his farming customers on the applications.
Most new machinery from any manufacturer comes factory-made with GPS autoguidance, Schlief said, to program the rigs for driving straight paths in the field.
This represents progress for the customers, he said.
“It’s the next wave of farming,” he said. “At the end of the day, (the farmers) are not so worn out.”
Nowthen Threshing Show 2013
The Nowthen Threshing Show is open Friday, Aug. 16, through Sunday, Aug. 18, on the grounds at 7415 Old Viking Blvd.
General admission is $10 daily for teens and adults. Weekend passes are $20. Youth 12 and under are admitted free when accompanied by an adult.
In addition to seeing farming equipment from many eras and different manufacturers, guests may visit buildings that include a one-room school house, sawmill, print shop, blacksmith shop, train depot and general store. The event offers spinning, quilting, weaving and pottery demonstrations, and live music is featured daily.
Tractor pulls are scheduled 6 p.m. Aug. 16 and 5 p.m. Aug. 17.
Food service begins 7 a.m. daily with a pancake breakfast (served until 10 a.m.), and lunch and dinner concessions include hot dogs, hamburgers, pork chops and gyros.
For more information, visit www.nowthenthreshing.com.