Monica Engen exudes enthusiasm when she talks about Heritage Hill. Engen was elected president of the Minnesota Valley Antique Farm Power & Machinery Association on Jan. 1, 2017, after previously serving as the club’s secretary. Engen grew up as a “city kid” in Watertown, S.D. She graduated from Mount Marty College with a degree in criminal justice and liberal arts. “I wanted to be a cop so bad. I have extreme respect for police, but it just wasn’t my thing, so I went into retail management,” said Engen. She was working at Schuneman Equipment, a John Deere dealership in Milbank, S.D., where she met her fiancee, Kevin Stegeman. She moved to Montevideo in 2014 and she is the full-time bus driver for Prairie Five Rides. “I love it. I wouldn’t trade my job for anything,” she said. “You meet lots of people.”
She went to her first threshing show with Stegeman, who is a member at Heritage Hill, in 2015. “I came with Kevin and thought ‘this is kind of cool,’ I was so mesmerized by the old machinery because I used to work at John Deere.” Her first job as a member of the MVAFPMA was registering tractors for the threshing show. At her first meeting as the club’s president, Engen passed around a sheet of paper for members to come up with new ideas for the threshing show. “Oh, my gosh, did we have ideas! There’s stuff for all ages that’s going to be going on out here and it’s not just tractors,” she said enthusiastically. Engen has come up with many of her own ideas also.
New events for this year’s show, which will run from Aug. 18-20, include a consignment auction, combine clinic and pick-up pull on Friday, the opening day of the show. She has already received the “go-ahead” for a tractor drive from Heritage Hill through Montevideo. On Saturday, Aug. 19, there will be a reunion of the threshing show queens from the past 30 years prior to the crowning of the new queen. Another first will be a performance by the Canyon Cowboys band and a dance, plus a beer garden. On the final day of the event, attendees to the show can pose for free photos taken of themselves in pioneer and early 20th Century attire. “We’re just adding a lot more excitement,” said Engen.
“We’re already looking at the next year what we can get out here.” The MVAFPMA currently has a membership of about 240, a number Engen is working to increase. New members are welcome to come to club meetings on the third Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. at Heritage Hill. “We have a great club out here and we’re looking to see a lot of new faces at the show in August, and I know you’ll have a great time with fun for all ages,” said Engen. “It’s a treasure out here and people don’t realize what’s going on.”