Great-great-grandfather’s train takes kids for a ride

At the Webster County Fair, memories are made of metal

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson Parker Hansen, 10, of Fort Dodge, front, throws a punch while practicing his Taekwondo form at the Webster County Fairgrounds Thursday. Ethan Cibert, 7, also of Fort Dodge, practices behind. The two are members of Faiferlick Martial Arts in Fort Dodge.

Parker Hansen, 10, of Fort Dodge, had a busy day at the Webster County Fair Thursday.

At noon, he practiced his taekwondo form on the free stage at the Webster County Fairgrounds. Hansen is a blue belt in taekwondo. He attends class at Faiferlick Martial Arts in Fort Dodge.

Later, he and his brother, Carter Hansen, 14, rode the steamliner train that their great-great-grandfather, Merle Erickson built.

Erickson built the steam-propelled train during the 1940s in Oleson Park. He offered rides there for 10 cents.

According to family, when he died, the train was stored for about 40 years before the Des Moines River Valley Tractor Club took ownership of the train and got it working again.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson Jackson Gascho, 7, of Fort Dodge, executes a front snap kick during a taekwondo demonstration at the Webster County Fairgrounds Thursday. Violet Gascho, 6, also of Fort Dodge, holds the pad as Justin Faiferlick, owner of Faiferlick Martial Arts, looks on.

It now rides around tracks at the Webster County Fairgrounds.

Marvin Clough, of Clare, was serving as the engineer on Thursday.

“A little while ago we had a slight derailment,” Clough said. “That was interesting getting that back on track.”

Clough said he was spending the day having fun, “while the rest of the family is home working.”

His family farms out by Clare, he said.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson Travis Stanberg, an Otho volunteer firefighter, sits with his dog, Nala, a Bluetick Coonhound, at the Webster County Fairgrounds Thursday. Stanberg said he was considering putting on his full turnout gear later in the day, despite the warm temperatures.

“I’m tired, but I am not retired,” Clough said.

Carter Hansen had some thoughts about the train ride.

“It’s shaky,” he said. “The seats were hot.”

Parker Hansen said he “liked the whole thing.”

His mom, Amber Hansen, said it’s special to see the family ride the same train their great-great-grandfather built.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson Layne Condon, 3, of Clare, ropes himself a bull at the Webster County Fair Thursday afternoon. Brooke Bindl, of Dayton, a roping instructor, looks on.

“At a time when their great-grandma is having a health issue,” she said. “To bring the kids here is like a sign of hope.”

She added, “It’s inspiring. I see the same creativeness in them. Their father, John, is a really talented artist too.”

Grandma Lin Wilson-Wingerson was happy to see the grandkids enjoying the fair.

“I think it’s cool they got to ride in it,” she said. “I spent the ’60s riding in that train.”

Over at the learning center, Terry Coleman, Iowa Central Community College rodeo coach, and Brooke Bindl, a roping instructor from Dayton, were helping youngsters with their roping techniques.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson Marvin Clough, of Clare, front, gives Carter Hansen, 14, and Parker Hansen, 10, both of Fort Dodge, a ride on the steamliner train at the Webtser County Fairgrounds Thursday. The Hansen’s great-great grandfather, Merle Erickson, built the train in the 1940s.

Layne Condon, 3, of Clare, quickly got the hang of it.

“That’s how I round up the bulls,” Condon said.

The Webster County Fair continues

today.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson Hailey Dawson, 10, of Palmer, gives roping a try at the Webster County Fairgrounds Thursday afternoon.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson Erin Ades, 12, of Boone, shows her card to the crowd during Larry Dunbar’s magic show at the Webster County Fairgrounds Thursday.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson Boe Davis, 7, of Dayton, wears a pink hat made of tissue paper by Larry Dunbar during the magic show at the Webster County Fairgrounds Thursday afternoon.

COMMENTS