In April 1963, a group of friends gathered to talk about organizing a club that was made up of people interested in collecting, operating, and restoring old engines. It was soon decided that the club would be named "Chippewa Valley Antique Engine & Model Club", as it had members that were from a 60 mile radius around Eau Claire, WI. In the beginning the club membership was only open to men; women only served the lunches and such for the meetings and shows. Today membership is open to all who share an interest and passion for antique equipment.
The first show was held in August 1963 at a local Eau Claire farm and it was called Pioneer Days. There was threshing, lumber sawing, shingle making and various other displays including several steam engines. There was even a well trained buck sheep that ran a treadmill. For many years the show was only held for two days on the second weekend in August. But as the club grew over the years it was decided that a three-day show would be better for all to enjoy.
The show was not only a place for members to show off their antique equipment but also old time entertainment and food. For many years, one of the members brought his old time steam popcorn machine for all to enjoy a tasty treat. The first entertainers at the show were a couple that played the accordion and violin. Throughout the years there have been numerous member entertainers that have performed and the club has even sponsored juggling, fiddling and banjo contests.
On Saturdays, an antique tractor pull usually takes place. And a few years ago a Twin Pull was added where you have the chance to see two tractors pulling in tandem like a team of horses. Traditionally, a non-denominational Sunday-morning church service is held followed by the Parade of Power.
Today, the shows are no longer held at local members farms but at our own show grounds called Pioneer Park. Each show day is started off right with a hearty pancake breakfast. The sound of the blacksmith shop can be heard throughout the grounds along with the pop of well tuned antique tractors and engines. Lumber still gets sawn, grain is still threshed and the sights and sound of the steam engines still echo throughout the show just as they did back in 1963 at the very first Pioneer Days show.
Though many of our founding fathers have long since passed away and there have been many changes over the years; one thing still remains the same: the club is still made up of people who have an interest in collecting, operating, and restoring old engines and machinery and showing others how it was in the "good ol' days".
On behalf of the entire Chippewa Valley Antique Engine & Model Club: Welcome and enjoy your visit!