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Steam Threshers Reunion a Family Affair for Canadian Father-Daughter

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Rollag, MN (WDAY TV) - Even a light drizzle did not stop the crowds from invading Rollag for the annual Steam Threshers Reunion.

From steam powered sawmills, trains, shovels and tractors, the next three days will showcase a little of yesterday.

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A Canadian father and daughter have made it a family affair.

“I'm a nurse.”

When Alicia Boutet leaves her job as a nurse in Winnipeg for Rollag,

She arrives to Steamer Hill with a pioneer spirit.

“I love it.”

And a beast of a steam engine. A 1910 American Abel. A rolling chunk of coal powered steel.

“I can sit in the rocking chair and watch the world go by now.”

Alicia has a good teacher, her father, Bob Mc Millan is a veteran here in Rollag.

“41-years.”

And now his daughter is going to the required safety classes here in Rollag to learn the ropes. And Alicia is not alone, more and more young people are being recruited to the steam thresher’s reunion, to step and be the next generation to keep this annual festival running.

Bob McMillan/Canada: “Eventually there is going to be nobody to run them and the young people will have to take over. I was young once too. But I think it is great for young people to take an interest in this stuff.”

Bob was in a bad accident a year ago, so this trip to Rollag this Labor Day weekend is special for the whole family.

Alicia Boutet/Canada: “It is a privilege, it really is.....I am sorry....I am emotional, it is a privilege and I am just so glad he is still here.

In a few days, Alicia will be back at a hospital in Canada, helping those who are sick. For now, it is all about steam. Coal dust, noise, fire and mud. She wouldn't want to spend Labor Day weekend here in the states, any other way.

You can see all the steam engines and everything else that goes along with the Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion, through Monday in Rollag.

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Kevin Wallevand
Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia and the Middle East. He is an Emmy and Edward R. Murrow award recipient.
(701) 241-5317
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