Old Style Oat Thrashing in Elbert, Colo. | TheFencePost.com

Old Style Oat Thrashing in Elbert, Colo.

Lincoln Rogers Parker, Colo.

Carl Olkjer kept tabs on his 1916 Case steam tractor running the belt that provided power to the separator.

Every year, just south of the town of Elbert, Colo., 20-acres of oats are planted by Carl Olkjer for the express purpose of keeping old-time harvest traditions alive. Since 1989, Olker has fired up a 1916 J.I. Case steam tractor and attached it to a vintage belt-driven separator. This year was no different. Once the equipment was up and running, teams of horses pulled hay carts that would be loaded with oats from the field by pitchfork. It was like being part of an agricultural time warp.

“It’s something you used to do for work years ago,” described Pat Kelly of Elizabeth, Colo. Kelly was with a crew from the Running Creek Ranch, located north of Elizabeth. The Limousine cattle ranch, owned by Joe Sr. and Joey Freund, uses horses every day and they enjoy bringing them to the thrashing. “We just come play at it,” Kelly said while a crew pitched oats in a nearby cart. “It’s just keeping old traditions alive, (which) is very important.”

Others at the thrashing agreed.

“I like bringing back the traditions (and) the reenactment of the olden days,” said Carmen Gabehart, a Kiowa, Colo., resident who has helped with the thrashing since she was in elementary school. “I was friends with Carl’s father, Leland, and this is something Leland started and we’ve just carried on the tradition since his passing,” she added while the separator and steam tractor filled the air with sound. “Yesterday I was in and out of the threshing machine, crawling in and out of the crannies, making sure the teeth were all tight. I love it.”

It wasn’t just members of the local community who showed up. The vintage equipment was a draw for all demographics.

“We’re car guys, and something old like this is just dynamite,” enthused Dan Jetter of Aurora, Colo. “We wanted to come watch and see how this thing ran.”

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Jetter and fellow car buff, Scott Hagadorn, also of Aurora, Colo., spied the vintage steam tractor in a field one day and couldn’t resist trying to find out more about the machine.

“We just stopped by and started taking pictures of it,” explained Hagadorn of how they ended up at the thrashing. “We drove by several other times and no one was ever around to see the tractor. One day the gate happened to be open and we stopped in and talked to Mr. Olkjer. He said, yeah, come back in the fall and watch it thresh, so that’s why we’re back.”

Having people show up to watch and/or help with the thrashing is why Olkjer does it in the first place.

“It just gets everybody together and see how harvest used to be done,” said Olker as he stood next to the huge Case tractor. The noise of the machine was impressive, especially when it vented steam to release pressure. “Everybody has enjoyed it. Just to come see (the steam tractor) work is kind of – every time I start it up, it doesn’t get old. It’s just one of those things that if you don’t keep it going it gets lost and kids have to read it in the history books and most of them don’t like history anyway. Until they get to be my age,” he quipped with a laugh.

Asked whether he minded spreading word about his thrashing to more people, Olkjer was happy to share.

“I have no problem with how big the crowd gets,” he answered. “(But) I only cook one hog, so if everybody just brings one plate I think they’ll be all right,” he added about the potluck style lunch served earlier in the day. “The biggest challenge is, I never know when I’m going to do it, because I never know what mother nature is going to do.”

On the topic of how he keeps it going every year, Olkjer was quick to compliment others.

“Joe and Joey Freund (of Running Creek Ranch) help make this thing happen every year,” he said while pointing out the duo nearby. “If it weren’t for those two, I probably wouldn’t even be doing it. They bring the team and just support me. Joe gets the hog and I get it cooked (and they help with) the overall day work. They bring a crew, they go to the field and pitch. They’re just excellent to have helping.”

“We just make sure everything is working right,” said Joey Freund in response. (We) make sure there is enough people and we have equipment.”

Asked for an opinion on seeing the community turn out, the younger Freund obliged.

“That’s the main part,” he responded. “You want them to come and you want to see the children come in here and see how things used to be done. To see how they worked and have the horses and steam engine and separator there.”

“It’s good,” agreed Joe Freund Sr. “Otherwise people never see it. I grew up with (using the separator). It’s a lot of fun.”

It seemed everyone involved in the thrashing had a good time.

“It was a great day,” said Mark Moore of Parker, Colo. Moore brought a team of Percherons to help pull carts as well as give his young horses some experience. “You just don’t see this,” he stated about the traditional event. “I don’t know how many thrashings there are throughout the country, but this is one of two that I know if in Colorado. To have the opportunity to bring our horses down here and haul bundles in, it’s the reason we have the horses. I’m a history buff, but it’s living history, not book history. The historic value of it is what I love.”

“It was a good day,” summed up a personable Olkjer at the harvest’s conclusion. “It was a little windy, but we’ve done this in the snow, too. Everybody has enjoyed it.”

Every year, just south of the town of Elbert, Colo., 20-acres of oats are planted by Carl Olkjer for the express purpose of keeping old-time harvest traditions alive. Since 1989, Olker has fired up a 1916 J.I. Case steam tractor and attached it to a vintage belt-driven separator. This year was no different. Once the equipment was up and running, teams of horses pulled hay carts that would be loaded with oats from the field by pitchfork. It was like being part of an agricultural time warp.

“It’s something you used to do for work years ago,” described Pat Kelly of Elizabeth, Colo. Kelly was with a crew from the Running Creek Ranch, located north of Elizabeth. The Limousine cattle ranch, owned by Joe Sr. and Joey Freund, uses horses every day and they enjoy bringing them to the thrashing. “We just come play at it,” Kelly said while a crew pitched oats in a nearby cart. “It’s just keeping old traditions alive, (which) is very important.”

Others at the thrashing agreed.

“I like bringing back the traditions (and) the reenactment of the olden days,” said Carmen Gabehart, a Kiowa, Colo., resident who has helped with the thrashing since she was in elementary school. “I was friends with Carl’s father, Leland, and this is something Leland started and we’ve just carried on the tradition since his passing,” she added while the separator and steam tractor filled the air with sound. “Yesterday I was in and out of the threshing machine, crawling in and out of the crannies, making sure the teeth were all tight. I love it.”

It wasn’t just members of the local community who showed up. The vintage equipment was a draw for all demographics.

“We’re car guys, and something old like this is just dynamite,” enthused Dan Jetter of Aurora, Colo. “We wanted to come watch and see how this thing ran.”

Jetter and fellow car buff, Scott Hagadorn, also of Aurora, Colo., spied the vintage steam tractor in a field one day and couldn’t resist trying to find out more about the machine.

“We just stopped by and started taking pictures of it,” explained Hagadorn of how they ended up at the thrashing. “We drove by several other times and no one was ever around to see the tractor. One day the gate happened to be open and we stopped in and talked to Mr. Olkjer. He said, yeah, come back in the fall and watch it thresh, so that’s why we’re back.”

Having people show up to watch and/or help with the thrashing is why Olkjer does it in the first place.

“It just gets everybody together and see how harvest used to be done,” said Olker as he stood next to the huge Case tractor. The noise of the machine was impressive, especially when it vented steam to release pressure. “Everybody has enjoyed it. Just to come see (the steam tractor) work is kind of – every time I start it up, it doesn’t get old. It’s just one of those things that if you don’t keep it going it gets lost and kids have to read it in the history books and most of them don’t like history anyway. Until they get to be my age,” he quipped with a laugh.

Asked whether he minded spreading word about his thrashing to more people, Olkjer was happy to share.

“I have no problem with how big the crowd gets,” he answered. “(But) I only cook one hog, so if everybody just brings one plate I think they’ll be all right,” he added about the potluck style lunch served earlier in the day. “The biggest challenge is, I never know when I’m going to do it, because I never know what mother nature is going to do.”

On the topic of how he keeps it going every year, Olkjer was quick to compliment others.

“Joe and Joey Freund (of Running Creek Ranch) help make this thing happen every year,” he said while pointing out the duo nearby. “If it weren’t for those two, I probably wouldn’t even be doing it. They bring the team and just support me. Joe gets the hog and I get it cooked (and they help with) the overall day work. They bring a crew, they go to the field and pitch. They’re just excellent to have helping.”

“We just make sure everything is working right,” said Joey Freund in response. (We) make sure there is enough people and we have equipment.”

Asked for an opinion on seeing the community turn out, the younger Freund obliged.

“That’s the main part,” he responded. “You want them to come and you want to see the children come in here and see how things used to be done. To see how they worked and have the horses and steam engine and separator there.”

“It’s good,” agreed Joe Freund Sr. “Otherwise people never see it. I grew up with (using the separator). It’s a lot of fun.”

It seemed everyone involved in the thrashing had a good time.

“It was a great day,” said Mark Moore of Parker, Colo. Moore brought a team of Percherons to help pull carts as well as give his young horses some experience. “You just don’t see this,” he stated about the traditional event. “I don’t know how many thrashings there are throughout the country, but this is one of two that I know if in Colorado. To have the opportunity to bring our horses down here and haul bundles in, it’s the reason we have the horses. I’m a history buff, but it’s living history, not book history. The historic value of it is what I love.”

“It was a good day,” summed up a personable Olkjer at the harvest’s conclusion. “It was a little windy, but we’ve done this in the snow, too. Everybody has enjoyed it.”

Every year, just south of the town of Elbert, Colo., 20-acres of oats are planted by Carl Olkjer for the express purpose of keeping old-time harvest traditions alive. Since 1989, Olker has fired up a 1916 J.I. Case steam tractor and attached it to a vintage belt-driven separator. This year was no different. Once the equipment was up and running, teams of horses pulled hay carts that would be loaded with oats from the field by pitchfork. It was like being part of an agricultural time warp.

“It’s something you used to do for work years ago,” described Pat Kelly of Elizabeth, Colo. Kelly was with a crew from the Running Creek Ranch, located north of Elizabeth. The Limousine cattle ranch, owned by Joe Sr. and Joey Freund, uses horses every day and they enjoy bringing them to the thrashing. “We just come play at it,” Kelly said while a crew pitched oats in a nearby cart. “It’s just keeping old traditions alive, (which) is very important.”

Others at the thrashing agreed.

“I like bringing back the traditions (and) the reenactment of the olden days,” said Carmen Gabehart, a Kiowa, Colo., resident who has helped with the thrashing since she was in elementary school. “I was friends with Carl’s father, Leland, and this is something Leland started and we’ve just carried on the tradition since his passing,” she added while the separator and steam tractor filled the air with sound. “Yesterday I was in and out of the threshing machine, crawling in and out of the crannies, making sure the teeth were all tight. I love it.”

It wasn’t just members of the local community who showed up. The vintage equipment was a draw for all demographics.

“We’re car guys, and something old like this is just dynamite,” enthused Dan Jetter of Aurora, Colo. “We wanted to come watch and see how this thing ran.”

Jetter and fellow car buff, Scott Hagadorn, also of Aurora, Colo., spied the vintage steam tractor in a field one day and couldn’t resist trying to find out more about the machine.

“We just stopped by and started taking pictures of it,” explained Hagadorn of how they ended up at the thrashing. “We drove by several other times and no one was ever around to see the tractor. One day the gate happened to be open and we stopped in and talked to Mr. Olkjer. He said, yeah, come back in the fall and watch it thresh, so that’s why we’re back.”

Having people show up to watch and/or help with the thrashing is why Olkjer does it in the first place.

“It just gets everybody together and see how harvest used to be done,” said Olker as he stood next to the huge Case tractor. The noise of the machine was impressive, especially when it vented steam to release pressure. “Everybody has enjoyed it. Just to come see (the steam tractor) work is kind of – every time I start it up, it doesn’t get old. It’s just one of those things that if you don’t keep it going it gets lost and kids have to read it in the history books and most of them don’t like history anyway. Until they get to be my age,” he quipped with a laugh.

Asked whether he minded spreading word about his thrashing to more people, Olkjer was happy to share.

“I have no problem with how big the crowd gets,” he answered. “(But) I only cook one hog, so if everybody just brings one plate I think they’ll be all right,” he added about the potluck style lunch served earlier in the day. “The biggest challenge is, I never know when I’m going to do it, because I never know what mother nature is going to do.”

On the topic of how he keeps it going every year, Olkjer was quick to compliment others.

“Joe and Joey Freund (of Running Creek Ranch) help make this thing happen every year,” he said while pointing out the duo nearby. “If it weren’t for those two, I probably wouldn’t even be doing it. They bring the team and just support me. Joe gets the hog and I get it cooked (and they help with) the overall day work. They bring a crew, they go to the field and pitch. They’re just excellent to have helping.”

“We just make sure everything is working right,” said Joey Freund in response. (We) make sure there is enough people and we have equipment.”

Asked for an opinion on seeing the community turn out, the younger Freund obliged.

“That’s the main part,” he responded. “You want them to come and you want to see the children come in here and see how things used to be done. To see how they worked and have the horses and steam engine and separator there.”

“It’s good,” agreed Joe Freund Sr. “Otherwise people never see it. I grew up with (using the separator). It’s a lot of fun.”

It seemed everyone involved in the thrashing had a good time.

“It was a great day,” said Mark Moore of Parker, Colo. Moore brought a team of Percherons to help pull carts as well as give his young horses some experience. “You just don’t see this,” he stated about the traditional event. “I don’t know how many thrashings there are throughout the country, but this is one of two that I know if in Colorado. To have the opportunity to bring our horses down here and haul bundles in, it’s the reason we have the horses. I’m a history buff, but it’s living history, not book history. The historic value of it is what I love.”

“It was a good day,” summed up a personable Olkjer at the harvest’s conclusion. “It was a little windy, but we’ve done this in the snow, too. Everybody has enjoyed it.”

Every year, just south of the town of Elbert, Colo., 20-acres of oats are planted by Carl Olkjer for the express purpose of keeping old-time harvest traditions alive. Since 1989, Olker has fired up a 1916 J.I. Case steam tractor and attached it to a vintage belt-driven separator. This year was no different. Once the equipment was up and running, teams of horses pulled hay carts that would be loaded with oats from the field by pitchfork. It was like being part of an agricultural time warp.

“It’s something you used to do for work years ago,” described Pat Kelly of Elizabeth, Colo. Kelly was with a crew from the Running Creek Ranch, located north of Elizabeth. The Limousine cattle ranch, owned by Joe Sr. and Joey Freund, uses horses every day and they enjoy bringing them to the thrashing. “We just come play at it,” Kelly said while a crew pitched oats in a nearby cart. “It’s just keeping old traditions alive, (which) is very important.”

Others at the thrashing agreed.

“I like bringing back the traditions (and) the reenactment of the olden days,” said Carmen Gabehart, a Kiowa, Colo., resident who has helped with the thrashing since she was in elementary school. “I was friends with Carl’s father, Leland, and this is something Leland started and we’ve just carried on the tradition since his passing,” she added while the separator and steam tractor filled the air with sound. “Yesterday I was in and out of the threshing machine, crawling in and out of the crannies, making sure the teeth were all tight. I love it.”

It wasn’t just members of the local community who showed up. The vintage equipment was a draw for all demographics.

“We’re car guys, and something old like this is just dynamite,” enthused Dan Jetter of Aurora, Colo. “We wanted to come watch and see how this thing ran.”

Jetter and fellow car buff, Scott Hagadorn, also of Aurora, Colo., spied the vintage steam tractor in a field one day and couldn’t resist trying to find out more about the machine.

“We just stopped by and started taking pictures of it,” explained Hagadorn of how they ended up at the thrashing. “We drove by several other times and no one was ever around to see the tractor. One day the gate happened to be open and we stopped in and talked to Mr. Olkjer. He said, yeah, come back in the fall and watch it thresh, so that’s why we’re back.”

Having people show up to watch and/or help with the thrashing is why Olkjer does it in the first place.

“It just gets everybody together and see how harvest used to be done,” said Olker as he stood next to the huge Case tractor. The noise of the machine was impressive, especially when it vented steam to release pressure. “Everybody has enjoyed it. Just to come see (the steam tractor) work is kind of – every time I start it up, it doesn’t get old. It’s just one of those things that if you don’t keep it going it gets lost and kids have to read it in the history books and most of them don’t like history anyway. Until they get to be my age,” he quipped with a laugh.

Asked whether he minded spreading word about his thrashing to more people, Olkjer was happy to share.

“I have no problem with how big the crowd gets,” he answered. “(But) I only cook one hog, so if everybody just brings one plate I think they’ll be all right,” he added about the potluck style lunch served earlier in the day. “The biggest challenge is, I never know when I’m going to do it, because I never know what mother nature is going to do.”

On the topic of how he keeps it going every year, Olkjer was quick to compliment others.

“Joe and Joey Freund (of Running Creek Ranch) help make this thing happen every year,” he said while pointing out the duo nearby. “If it weren’t for those two, I probably wouldn’t even be doing it. They bring the team and just support me. Joe gets the hog and I get it cooked (and they help with) the overall day work. They bring a crew, they go to the field and pitch. They’re just excellent to have helping.”

“We just make sure everything is working right,” said Joey Freund in response. (We) make sure there is enough people and we have equipment.”

Asked for an opinion on seeing the community turn out, the younger Freund obliged.

“That’s the main part,” he responded. “You want them to come and you want to see the children come in here and see how things used to be done. To see how they worked and have the horses and steam engine and separator there.”

“It’s good,” agreed Joe Freund Sr. “Otherwise people never see it. I grew up with (using the separator). It’s a lot of fun.”

It seemed everyone involved in the thrashing had a good time.

“It was a great day,” said Mark Moore of Parker, Colo. Moore brought a team of Percherons to help pull carts as well as give his young horses some experience. “You just don’t see this,” he stated about the traditional event. “I don’t know how many thrashings there are throughout the country, but this is one of two that I know if in Colorado. To have the opportunity to bring our horses down here and haul bundles in, it’s the reason we have the horses. I’m a history buff, but it’s living history, not book history. The historic value of it is what I love.”

“It was a good day,” summed up a personable Olkjer at the harvest’s conclusion. “It was a little windy, but we’ve done this in the snow, too. Everybody has enjoyed it.”

Every year, just south of the town of Elbert, Colo., 20-acres of oats are planted by Carl Olkjer for the express purpose of keeping old-time harvest traditions alive. Since 1989, Olker has fired up a 1916 J.I. Case steam tractor and attached it to a vintage belt-driven separator. This year was no different. Once the equipment was up and running, teams of horses pulled hay carts that would be loaded with oats from the field by pitchfork. It was like being part of an agricultural time warp.

“It’s something you used to do for work years ago,” described Pat Kelly of Elizabeth, Colo. Kelly was with a crew from the Running Creek Ranch, located north of Elizabeth. The Limousine cattle ranch, owned by Joe Sr. and Joey Freund, uses horses every day and they enjoy bringing them to the thrashing. “We just come play at it,” Kelly said while a crew pitched oats in a nearby cart. “It’s just keeping old traditions alive, (which) is very important.”

Others at the thrashing agreed.

“I like bringing back the traditions (and) the reenactment of the olden days,” said Carmen Gabehart, a Kiowa, Colo., resident who has helped with the thrashing since she was in elementary school. “I was friends with Carl’s father, Leland, and this is something Leland started and we’ve just carried on the tradition since his passing,” she added while the separator and steam tractor filled the air with sound. “Yesterday I was in and out of the threshing machine, crawling in and out of the crannies, making sure the teeth were all tight. I love it.”

It wasn’t just members of the local community who showed up. The vintage equipment was a draw for all demographics.

“We’re car guys, and something old like this is just dynamite,” enthused Dan Jetter of Aurora, Colo. “We wanted to come watch and see how this thing ran.”

Jetter and fellow car buff, Scott Hagadorn, also of Aurora, Colo., spied the vintage steam tractor in a field one day and couldn’t resist trying to find out more about the machine.

“We just stopped by and started taking pictures of it,” explained Hagadorn of how they ended up at the thrashing. “We drove by several other times and no one was ever around to see the tractor. One day the gate happened to be open and we stopped in and talked to Mr. Olkjer. He said, yeah, come back in the fall and watch it thresh, so that’s why we’re back.”

Having people show up to watch and/or help with the thrashing is why Olkjer does it in the first place.

“It just gets everybody together and see how harvest used to be done,” said Olker as he stood next to the huge Case tractor. The noise of the machine was impressive, especially when it vented steam to release pressure. “Everybody has enjoyed it. Just to come see (the steam tractor) work is kind of – every time I start it up, it doesn’t get old. It’s just one of those things that if you don’t keep it going it gets lost and kids have to read it in the history books and most of them don’t like history anyway. Until they get to be my age,” he quipped with a laugh.

Asked whether he minded spreading word about his thrashing to more people, Olkjer was happy to share.

“I have no problem with how big the crowd gets,” he answered. “(But) I only cook one hog, so if everybody just brings one plate I think they’ll be all right,” he added about the potluck style lunch served earlier in the day. “The biggest challenge is, I never know when I’m going to do it, because I never know what mother nature is going to do.”

On the topic of how he keeps it going every year, Olkjer was quick to compliment others.

“Joe and Joey Freund (of Running Creek Ranch) help make this thing happen every year,” he said while pointing out the duo nearby. “If it weren’t for those two, I probably wouldn’t even be doing it. They bring the team and just support me. Joe gets the hog and I get it cooked (and they help with) the overall day work. They bring a crew, they go to the field and pitch. They’re just excellent to have helping.”

“We just make sure everything is working right,” said Joey Freund in response. (We) make sure there is enough people and we have equipment.”

Asked for an opinion on seeing the community turn out, the younger Freund obliged.

“That’s the main part,” he responded. “You want them to come and you want to see the children come in here and see how things used to be done. To see how they worked and have the horses and steam engine and separator there.”

“It’s good,” agreed Joe Freund Sr. “Otherwise people never see it. I grew up with (using the separator). It’s a lot of fun.”

It seemed everyone involved in the thrashing had a good time.

“It was a great day,” said Mark Moore of Parker, Colo. Moore brought a team of Percherons to help pull carts as well as give his young horses some experience. “You just don’t see this,” he stated about the traditional event. “I don’t know how many thrashings there are throughout the country, but this is one of two that I know if in Colorado. To have the opportunity to bring our horses down here and haul bundles in, it’s the reason we have the horses. I’m a history buff, but it’s living history, not book history. The historic value of it is what I love.”

“It was a good day,” summed up a personable Olkjer at the harvest’s conclusion. “It was a little windy, but we’ve done this in the snow, too. Everybody has enjoyed it.”

Every year, just south of the town of Elbert, Colo., 20-acres of oats are planted by Carl Olkjer for the express purpose of keeping old-time harvest traditions alive. Since 1989, Olker has fired up a 1916 J.I. Case steam tractor and attached it to a vintage belt-driven separator. This year was no different. Once the equipment was up and running, teams of horses pulled hay carts that would be loaded with oats from the field by pitchfork. It was like being part of an agricultural time warp.

“It’s something you used to do for work years ago,” described Pat Kelly of Elizabeth, Colo. Kelly was with a crew from the Running Creek Ranch, located north of Elizabeth. The Limousine cattle ranch, owned by Joe Sr. and Joey Freund, uses horses every day and they enjoy bringing them to the thrashing. “We just come play at it,” Kelly said while a crew pitched oats in a nearby cart. “It’s just keeping old traditions alive, (which) is very important.”

Others at the thrashing agreed.

“I like bringing back the traditions (and) the reenactment of the olden days,” said Carmen Gabehart, a Kiowa, Colo., resident who has helped with the thrashing since she was in elementary school. “I was friends with Carl’s father, Leland, and this is something Leland started and we’ve just carried on the tradition since his passing,” she added while the separator and steam tractor filled the air with sound. “Yesterday I was in and out of the threshing machine, crawling in and out of the crannies, making sure the teeth were all tight. I love it.”

It wasn’t just members of the local community who showed up. The vintage equipment was a draw for all demographics.

“We’re car guys, and something old like this is just dynamite,” enthused Dan Jetter of Aurora, Colo. “We wanted to come watch and see how this thing ran.”

Jetter and fellow car buff, Scott Hagadorn, also of Aurora, Colo., spied the vintage steam tractor in a field one day and couldn’t resist trying to find out more about the machine.

“We just stopped by and started taking pictures of it,” explained Hagadorn of how they ended up at the thrashing. “We drove by several other times and no one was ever around to see the tractor. One day the gate happened to be open and we stopped in and talked to Mr. Olkjer. He said, yeah, come back in the fall and watch it thresh, so that’s why we’re back.”

Having people show up to watch and/or help with the thrashing is why Olkjer does it in the first place.

“It just gets everybody together and see how harvest used to be done,” said Olker as he stood next to the huge Case tractor. The noise of the machine was impressive, especially when it vented steam to release pressure. “Everybody has enjoyed it. Just to come see (the steam tractor) work is kind of – every time I start it up, it doesn’t get old. It’s just one of those things that if you don’t keep it going it gets lost and kids have to read it in the history books and most of them don’t like history anyway. Until they get to be my age,” he quipped with a laugh.

Asked whether he minded spreading word about his thrashing to more people, Olkjer was happy to share.

“I have no problem with how big the crowd gets,” he answered. “(But) I only cook one hog, so if everybody just brings one plate I think they’ll be all right,” he added about the potluck style lunch served earlier in the day. “The biggest challenge is, I never know when I’m going to do it, because I never know what mother nature is going to do.”

On the topic of how he keeps it going every year, Olkjer was quick to compliment others.

“Joe and Joey Freund (of Running Creek Ranch) help make this thing happen every year,” he said while pointing out the duo nearby. “If it weren’t for those two, I probably wouldn’t even be doing it. They bring the team and just support me. Joe gets the hog and I get it cooked (and they help with) the overall day work. They bring a crew, they go to the field and pitch. They’re just excellent to have helping.”

“We just make sure everything is working right,” said Joey Freund in response. (We) make sure there is enough people and we have equipment.”

Asked for an opinion on seeing the community turn out, the younger Freund obliged.

“That’s the main part,” he responded. “You want them to come and you want to see the children come in here and see how things used to be done. To see how they worked and have the horses and steam engine and separator there.”

“It’s good,” agreed Joe Freund Sr. “Otherwise people never see it. I grew up with (using the separator). It’s a lot of fun.”

It seemed everyone involved in the thrashing had a good time.

“It was a great day,” said Mark Moore of Parker, Colo. Moore brought a team of Percherons to help pull carts as well as give his young horses some experience. “You just don’t see this,” he stated about the traditional event. “I don’t know how many thrashings there are throughout the country, but this is one of two that I know if in Colorado. To have the opportunity to bring our horses down here and haul bundles in, it’s the reason we have the horses. I’m a history buff, but it’s living history, not book history. The historic value of it is what I love.”

“It was a good day,” summed up a personable Olkjer at the harvest’s conclusion. “It was a little windy, but we’ve done this in the snow, too. Everybody has enjoyed it.”

Every year, just south of the town of Elbert, Colo., 20-acres of oats are planted by Carl Olkjer for the express purpose of keeping old-time harvest traditions alive. Since 1989, Olker has fired up a 1916 J.I. Case steam tractor and attached it to a vintage belt-driven separator. This year was no different. Once the equipment was up and running, teams of horses pulled hay carts that would be loaded with oats from the field by pitchfork. It was like being part of an agricultural time warp.

“It’s something you used to do for work years ago,” described Pat Kelly of Elizabeth, Colo. Kelly was with a crew from the Running Creek Ranch, located north of Elizabeth. The Limousine cattle ranch, owned by Joe Sr. and Joey Freund, uses horses every day and they enjoy bringing them to the thrashing. “We just come play at it,” Kelly said while a crew pitched oats in a nearby cart. “It’s just keeping old traditions alive, (which) is very important.”

Others at the thrashing agreed.

“I like bringing back the traditions (and) the reenactment of the olden days,” said Carmen Gabehart, a Kiowa, Colo., resident who has helped with the thrashing since she was in elementary school. “I was friends with Carl’s father, Leland, and this is something Leland started and we’ve just carried on the tradition since his passing,” she added while the separator and steam tractor filled the air with sound. “Yesterday I was in and out of the threshing machine, crawling in and out of the crannies, making sure the teeth were all tight. I love it.”

It wasn’t just members of the local community who showed up. The vintage equipment was a draw for all demographics.

“We’re car guys, and something old like this is just dynamite,” enthused Dan Jetter of Aurora, Colo. “We wanted to come watch and see how this thing ran.”

Jetter and fellow car buff, Scott Hagadorn, also of Aurora, Colo., spied the vintage steam tractor in a field one day and couldn’t resist trying to find out more about the machine.

“We just stopped by and started taking pictures of it,” explained Hagadorn of how they ended up at the thrashing. “We drove by several other times and no one was ever around to see the tractor. One day the gate happened to be open and we stopped in and talked to Mr. Olkjer. He said, yeah, come back in the fall and watch it thresh, so that’s why we’re back.”

Having people show up to watch and/or help with the thrashing is why Olkjer does it in the first place.

“It just gets everybody together and see how harvest used to be done,” said Olker as he stood next to the huge Case tractor. The noise of the machine was impressive, especially when it vented steam to release pressure. “Everybody has enjoyed it. Just to come see (the steam tractor) work is kind of – every time I start it up, it doesn’t get old. It’s just one of those things that if you don’t keep it going it gets lost and kids have to read it in the history books and most of them don’t like history anyway. Until they get to be my age,” he quipped with a laugh.

Asked whether he minded spreading word about his thrashing to more people, Olkjer was happy to share.

“I have no problem with how big the crowd gets,” he answered. “(But) I only cook one hog, so if everybody just brings one plate I think they’ll be all right,” he added about the potluck style lunch served earlier in the day. “The biggest challenge is, I never know when I’m going to do it, because I never know what mother nature is going to do.”

On the topic of how he keeps it going every year, Olkjer was quick to compliment others.

“Joe and Joey Freund (of Running Creek Ranch) help make this thing happen every year,” he said while pointing out the duo nearby. “If it weren’t for those two, I probably wouldn’t even be doing it. They bring the team and just support me. Joe gets the hog and I get it cooked (and they help with) the overall day work. They bring a crew, they go to the field and pitch. They’re just excellent to have helping.”

“We just make sure everything is working right,” said Joey Freund in response. (We) make sure there is enough people and we have equipment.”

Asked for an opinion on seeing the community turn out, the younger Freund obliged.

“That’s the main part,” he responded. “You want them to come and you want to see the children come in here and see how things used to be done. To see how they worked and have the horses and steam engine and separator there.”

“It’s good,” agreed Joe Freund Sr. “Otherwise people never see it. I grew up with (using the separator). It’s a lot of fun.”

It seemed everyone involved in the thrashing had a good time.

“It was a great day,” said Mark Moore of Parker, Colo. Moore brought a team of Percherons to help pull carts as well as give his young horses some experience. “You just don’t see this,” he stated about the traditional event. “I don’t know how many thrashings there are throughout the country, but this is one of two that I know if in Colorado. To have the opportunity to bring our horses down here and haul bundles in, it’s the reason we have the horses. I’m a history buff, but it’s living history, not book history. The historic value of it is what I love.”

“It was a good day,” summed up a personable Olkjer at the harvest’s conclusion. “It was a little windy, but we’ve done this in the snow, too. Everybody has enjoyed it.”

Every year, just south of the town of Elbert, Colo., 20-acres of oats are planted by Carl Olkjer for the express purpose of keeping old-time harvest traditions alive. Since 1989, Olker has fired up a 1916 J.I. Case steam tractor and attached it to a vintage belt-driven separator. This year was no different. Once the equipment was up and running, teams of horses pulled hay carts that would be loaded with oats from the field by pitchfork. It was like being part of an agricultural time warp.

“It’s something you used to do for work years ago,” described Pat Kelly of Elizabeth, Colo. Kelly was with a crew from the Running Creek Ranch, located north of Elizabeth. The Limousine cattle ranch, owned by Joe Sr. and Joey Freund, uses horses every day and they enjoy bringing them to the thrashing. “We just come play at it,” Kelly said while a crew pitched oats in a nearby cart. “It’s just keeping old traditions alive, (which) is very important.”

Others at the thrashing agreed.

“I like bringing back the traditions (and) the reenactment of the olden days,” said Carmen Gabehart, a Kiowa, Colo., resident who has helped with the thrashing since she was in elementary school. “I was friends with Carl’s father, Leland, and this is something Leland started and we’ve just carried on the tradition since his passing,” she added while the separator and steam tractor filled the air with sound. “Yesterday I was in and out of the threshing machine, crawling in and out of the crannies, making sure the teeth were all tight. I love it.”

It wasn’t just members of the local community who showed up. The vintage equipment was a draw for all demographics.

“We’re car guys, and something old like this is just dynamite,” enthused Dan Jetter of Aurora, Colo. “We wanted to come watch and see how this thing ran.”

Jetter and fellow car buff, Scott Hagadorn, also of Aurora, Colo., spied the vintage steam tractor in a field one day and couldn’t resist trying to find out more about the machine.

“We just stopped by and started taking pictures of it,” explained Hagadorn of how they ended up at the thrashing. “We drove by several other times and no one was ever around to see the tractor. One day the gate happened to be open and we stopped in and talked to Mr. Olkjer. He said, yeah, come back in the fall and watch it thresh, so that’s why we’re back.”

Having people show up to watch and/or help with the thrashing is why Olkjer does it in the first place.

“It just gets everybody together and see how harvest used to be done,” said Olker as he stood next to the huge Case tractor. The noise of the machine was impressive, especially when it vented steam to release pressure. “Everybody has enjoyed it. Just to come see (the steam tractor) work is kind of – every time I start it up, it doesn’t get old. It’s just one of those things that if you don’t keep it going it gets lost and kids have to read it in the history books and most of them don’t like history anyway. Until they get to be my age,” he quipped with a laugh.

Asked whether he minded spreading word about his thrashing to more people, Olkjer was happy to share.

“I have no problem with how big the crowd gets,” he answered. “(But) I only cook one hog, so if everybody just brings one plate I think they’ll be all right,” he added about the potluck style lunch served earlier in the day. “The biggest challenge is, I never know when I’m going to do it, because I never know what mother nature is going to do.”

On the topic of how he keeps it going every year, Olkjer was quick to compliment others.

“Joe and Joey Freund (of Running Creek Ranch) help make this thing happen every year,” he said while pointing out the duo nearby. “If it weren’t for those two, I probably wouldn’t even be doing it. They bring the team and just support me. Joe gets the hog and I get it cooked (and they help with) the overall day work. They bring a crew, they go to the field and pitch. They’re just excellent to have helping.”

“We just make sure everything is working right,” said Joey Freund in response. (We) make sure there is enough people and we have equipment.”

Asked for an opinion on seeing the community turn out, the younger Freund obliged.

“That’s the main part,” he responded. “You want them to come and you want to see the children come in here and see how things used to be done. To see how they worked and have the horses and steam engine and separator there.”

“It’s good,” agreed Joe Freund Sr. “Otherwise people never see it. I grew up with (using the separator). It’s a lot of fun.”

It seemed everyone involved in the thrashing had a good time.

“It was a great day,” said Mark Moore of Parker, Colo. Moore brought a team of Percherons to help pull carts as well as give his young horses some experience. “You just don’t see this,” he stated about the traditional event. “I don’t know how many thrashings there are throughout the country, but this is one of two that I know if in Colorado. To have the opportunity to bring our horses down here and haul bundles in, it’s the reason we have the horses. I’m a history buff, but it’s living history, not book history. The historic value of it is what I love.”

“It was a good day,” summed up a personable Olkjer at the harvest’s conclusion. “It was a little windy, but we’ve done this in the snow, too. Everybody has enjoyed it.”