Threshers off to Austin for record breaking event


Members of Killarney’s Turtle Mountain Flywheel Club are heading to Austin, Manitoba in a couple of weeks, hoping for a record-breaking event.

And they’re taking their threshing machines with them.

“They’re both in pretty good shape,” said Turtle Mounatin Flywheel Club (TMFC) director Rick Green of the two threshers that he and fellow club member Kevin Mabon are pictured with on the front page of this week’s Guide. “The McCormick Deering was made in the ‘30s, roughly 1931, and the Rumely is a little older, it’s mid ‘20s. Rick, Kevin and the rest of the TMFC just finished up a busy weekend of Prairie Pioneer Days here in Killarney.

Now they’re gearing up for their next big event, one that they’ve attended for the last several years: the Manitoba
Threshermen’s Reunion and Stampede in Austin.

And this year’s event is shaping up to be the biggest yet.

That’s because the crew in Austin is planning on breaking the record for the most threshing machines threshing at once, with over 120 doing their thing in a field of winter wheat on Sunday, July 31 at 4 p.m.

“Kevin and I are a big part of the Austin Museum (Manitoba Agricultural Museum), and have been for many years
now,” said Green. “And we’re a part of the group that plans these big events. Every year we’re at Austin.”

In 2010, volunteers at the Manitoba Agricultural Museum smashed a record by assembling and using a 77-foot wide agricultural plow, the world’s largest.

“That idea was basically born from a bottle of whiskey and a campfire,” remembered Green. “A lot of our guys are
real go-getters, and we have an engineer in our group. And for fun one night he went home and designed a big fancy plough hitch, and he says, ‘Hey, we can do this.’ And we did.”

The idea of challenging the threshing machine world record came about in the same fashion, and Green said it has
really ballooned into a huge thing.

“When it started out, we were after 66 threshing machines, which is the same number as the bottoms of our plough
we did in 2010,” he added. “But unfortunately for us, last summer a group in Ontario broke the threshing record with 111 machines. So we really had to step up our game, and we got in touch with friends, family – anybody we could think of that had a threshing machine and would be interested.”

There are currently 122 threshing machines confirmed for the Austin event, and there are approximately 144  promised, leaving Green confident that even if some don’t come through, they should still have plenty enough to break the record.

“Guinness Book of World Records has been contacted, and they’re coming out to record the record,” he said. “This will be the largest group of running threshing machines ever that we know of. It’s huge. It was getting so big that we
were running short on funds, so we needed sponsors, money, something. So because it has to do with grain and food, basically Elliot Sims went to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, and they said, ‘You guys are crazy. We’re on board.’”

‘Harvesting Hope – a World Record to Help the Hungry’ is the name of the industrious event, which now boasts dozens of sponsors.

“The goal is to beat the world record, and have all the proceeds go to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank,” said Green. “So we’re getting something out of it, and then we’re helping the hungry too.”

Along with their volunteers, the TMFC is sending three threshing machines to Austin for Harvesting Hope. The two machines featured in the photo will be en route soon, and one is already there.

“There are four threshing machines from Killarney in total going there, and we’re also sending a binder and tractor combination to cut the sheaves to feed the threshing machines,” said Green. “There’s going to be an estimated
50,000 sheaves cut. There’s 115 acres of winter wheat, which is a huge task on its own. There’s going to be
approximately a dozen binders cutting, and getting ready for the event.”

Green said that they’re also hoping to have all the volunteers dressed in traditional style clothing, so, if you look
at the picture in black and white, you won’t be able to tell what era it’s from.

More than 600 volunteers will work in teams to operate over 100 vintage threshing machines in an effort to set a
new world record for “most threshing machines operating simultaneously.” The machines will run for 20 minutes and will be driven by antique engines built as early as 1890. The massive effort requires over four football fields of space.

“There’s going to be an estimated 1,000 volunteers just to put on this one day in Austin,” explained Green. “There are threshing machine teams coming from as far away as Edmonton, all over Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. There’s a team registered from Minneapolis, and possibly further south than that. All the major tractor clubs in Manitoba are getting involved. And most of the agricultural museums in Canada, in some way, have something to do with it. It’s really brought everyone together in the antique tractor community, or the farming community anyway.”

Green is very proud of his community’s involvement in this special event, and, now that Prairie Pioneer Days is done, they’re really getting excited about it.

“There’s actually three binders, two tractors, and four threshing machines coming from the Killarney area,” he said. “And we’re getting up to about 20 volunteers from Killarney alone, including the museum and private groups. That’s great support. We’re always looking for more help though, and more members. If anyone’s interested just let us

Want to help or become a member? Call 204-523-1881 if you’re interested, or drop into the TMFC Museum at Heritage Village in Killarney to check things out.

And visit for more information on the world’s largest pioneer harvest.


Photo/Shaylynn McMahon, Canadian Foodgrains Bank

RECORD BREAKING – An aerial photo shows 25 to 30 of the 139 antique threshing machines used at the July 31 Harvesting Hope world record attempt at the Manitoba Agricultural Museum in Austin.

Threshers break Guinness World Record in Austin