HISTORY OF THE RAE
VALLEY HERITAGE ASSOCIATION, INC.
the 1950's, '60's and '70's individuals from this community
[Petersburg] and communities form around this area collected
antique tractors, engines, and machinery of all sorts, including
horse drawn machinery.
of interest from several folks of the younger generation, who
never worked with this type of machinery, we managed to get the
individuals together for an old fashioned machinery and threshing
display held in conjunction with the St. John's Bazaar in the fall
of 1980. What a great turn out!
5, 1981, about 20 people from this community [Petersburg] and
communities around, met at the M&D Steakhouse in Petersburg.
Everyone talked of the great time they had, and wondered how we
could preserve this old agricultural farming technique? First of
all, we needed an organization! We planned another display in the
fall of 81' at St. John's Bazaar. The majority of people were from
this community. We called our group the Rae Valley Heritage
Association. The old fashioned machinery and threshing display in
the fall of 1981 was a success.
The Rae Valley Heritage Assn. took part in the Centennial Parade
and celebration in Raeville, NE.
The Rae Valley Heritage Assn. added another event, the Antique
Tractor and Horse Plowing Contest. First place trophies were given
in each event. Expenses were paid with association dues. The
machine show and plowing contest was head at the Charles Huisman
farm west of Petersburg.
The Rae Valley Heritage Assn. held their Antique Tractor and Horse
Plowing Contest at the Theodore Ketteler farm south of Petersburg.
This year's show drew more plowing entries and exhibitors, even
though it was a windy cold day. Donations were taken at the gate
to help with expenses.
Antique Tractor and Horse Plowing Contest was held on September 8,
at the Bill Rueth farm northwest of Petersburg. Added to this show
was a parade with 43 entries, all farm related antiques. Also a
first was an 1886 Case Steam Engine on display, along with many
more exhibits, displays, and plowing entries. With another cold,
damp, windy day the crowd was bigger than ever.
and contest had grown to the point where the association members
alone couldn't put it on without the help of local townspeople and
organizations. We're most grateful for their support.
October 1, 1985 the Rae Valley Heritage Assn. met at the Duane
Filsinger repair shop in Clearwater, NE. The club reorganized and
for the first time voted officers for the coming year. The 1986
Chairman was Steve Stokes, Co-Chairman Roger Lee, Secretary and
Treasurer Judy and Larry Petsche.
13, 1986 The Rae Valley Heritage Assn. became officially
incorporated with its purpose: to preserve and promote the
awareness of the agricultural heritage of Northeast Nebraska; and
to sponsor the plowing contest.
Nebraska State Antique Tractor and Plowing Contest, originally
scheduled for September 7, took place September 21, 1986. The
postponement was due to a long rainy spell, which also was the
reason for the change in show sites, from the Bill Rueth farm to
the Charles Huisman hill west of Petersburg.
show was also the kickoff celebration for the 1987 Petersburg
Centennial Celebration. Along with the plowing and parade there
was the beginning of the beard growing contest, with some of the
participants being shaved that afternoon by members of the Young
Women's Club, who were sponsoring the contest. There was also an
auction of one Centennial belt buckle and key chain set (No. 250
of 250) which sold for $115.00. There was available various
centennial items which could be purchased that day.
with the help of the local townspeople, organizations, and the
cooperation of the members of the club, the show and parade was
bigger than ever.
Petersburg Public School Band led the parade with more than 45
entries following. Most of these were farm related and centennial
related entries. There were over 40 various exhibits and displays
for people to enjoy. Awards and trophies were given for various
categories in the parade as well as the plowing contest.
Valley Heritage Association Inc. met the reorganize for the coming
year at Cunningham's restaurant, Main Street in Petersburg. With
approximately 30 members present, the officers for 1987 were
chosen with Chairman-Steve Stokes, Co-Chairman, Jeanne Stokes,
Secretary-Judy Petsche, and Treasurer-Larry Petsche. The date was
set for the 1987 Nebraska State Antique Tractor and Horse Plowing
Contest for August _, 1987 . The contests would again be held on
the Charles Huisman hill two miles west of Petersburg. 1987
large crowds attending the antique show, approximately 2,000, in
1987 Charles Huisman decided RVHA was in need of a large building
to house antique machinery throughout the year and during the
show. This would also give the vendors a place to set up their
wares, bring protection from the sun and any inclement weather!
spring of 1988 Charlie purchased a 50x100 Quonset building.
Through the spring and summer members of the club and neighbors
gathered to erect the building in time for the show that fall! The
attendance that year was nearly 3,000.
show grew larger, a two day show was started in 1989 which
included a good old time tractor pull.
At this time Charlie and members decided the Huisman farm would be
the permanent place for the show in future years! Landscaping was
done to better accommodate vendors and four dozen 10 ft.
cottonwood trees were transplanted on the grounds over a couple
spent hundreds of hours caring for and watering the young trees.
Today some stand over 30 ft. tall and provide wonderful shade.
the plowing contest was stopped and renamed the Plowing Bee. It
was decided to eliminate competition and make it an even where
people could go out and have fun watching and/or participating and
just have a good time!
the years The Rae Valley Heritage has received recognition for
their efforts. In October 1999 The Rae Valley NCIP nominated them.
Volunteers donated over 7,000 hours to the two-day event which
attracted more than 2,500 visitors from 43 counties and 7 states!
This award was presented by Governor Mike Johanns at the Lincoln
Station Great Hall at Lincoln's Historic Haymarket District.
spring of 2000 there were plans for the demolition of the former
Frank Selting barn, three and one half miles north of Raeville,
NE. In an effort to save the barn, Joyce Selting Temme and family
donated it to the Rae Valley Heritage Association and moved it to
the show site on the Charles Huisman farm. On May 2, 2000 Jim and
George Majerus accomplished this task. Members of the Rae Valley
Heritage Association spent many hours cleaning and restoring the
barn for use at future Rae Valley events.
26, 2001 the first annual Petersburg Antique Consignment Auction
added to the Plowing Bee with John and Jeff Temme as Auctioneers,
clerked by the John Temme Auction Co. The consignment auction was
a success and the decision was made to have this a permanent
Saturday morning event in the future. This has proved to have been
a good move. The number of items consigned has continued to
increase each year offering three to four hour auction with good
2008 was the first year for what is now known as the Annual
Tractor Cade. Beginning in Creston, NE, Harold Boning organized a
group to drive their tractors to the Rae Valley Show on the Friday
before the event! This is a distance of over 45 miles. They are
cheered on along the way and welcomed onto the show site by many
spectators and treated to a cream can supper. In 2010, 43 tractors
and drivers arrived with the Annual Creston, NE to Petersburg, NE
Tractor Cade. Following their arrival a cream can supper served
180 meals from six ten gallon cream cans cooked over an open pit!
2011 Rae Valley Heritage Threshing Bee had 190 sponsors and just
over 100 members strong. 2011 was also the kick off for the
Petersburg Q125 Cel. Albion, NE.
activities are being planned for the year 2023!
Larry and Judy Petsche