Centennial Road

Original Horsepower Blazes a New Trail

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Teamster Dave Laing and wagon operator Greg Ruzicka
Photo Credit: Photo By Alex Lewoniuk

“Heads up!” hollered Neil Dimmock and with a sharp whistle, the 16-horse hitch was making history. For the first time in nearly a century, a new road was carved out of the prairie using original horsepower. The hitch was pulling a 1906 Austin New Era Wagon Loader last used in the Bassano area in 1929. Grader operators Don Laing, Bernard Lentz and equipment owner Bill Graham from Graham Brothers Construction control the depth of the furrow and the dirt chunked up the elevator, dumping into the 1906 Stroud “Little Red Wagon” 1-3/4 yard dump wagon.

 The hitch of twelve horses pulling and four horses pushing is ingenious, shortening the turning radius of the outfit when building the early roads. Lead teamster Neil Dimmock drove the twelve hooked with a Tocklington hitch, while Zefron LaRiviere drove the four across hooked to the pushcart behind. Ground crew included Andre LaFrance and Anthony Baer who hitched, hooked, helped and hoofed it every mile.

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Geniene Laing begins to lift the handle on the 1908 Western wheeled scraper. The lip will catch on the ground and as the team moves forward momentum flips the scraper, dumping the dirt and locking in an upright position
Photo Credit: Photo By Alex Lewoniuk

At the other end of the road construction site, Kim Dimmock drove a single horse on the oldest piece of equipment, a 1904 Russell slip (also called a dray scraper). Terri Mason drove her team on a 1908 Western wheeled scraper. Geniene Laing was the operator for both teamsters. Two dump wagons, one driven by Dave Laing, operated by Greg Ruzicka and the other driven by Aleah Laing and operated by Albert Zeisel were kept in high gear.

The show was the brainchild of Bill Graham of Graham Brothers Construction, host of the Historical Construction Equipment Association’s first convention ever held outside of the U.S. The convention, held Aug 5 – 7, 2005, saw record-breaking crowds at the Reynolds Alberta Museum in Wetaskiwin, AB.

 

 

 

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Terri Mason drives her team forward as the scraper dumps and locks upright
Photo Credit: Photo By Alex Lewoniuk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Photo Credit: Photo By Alex Lewoniuk
Caption: Kim Dimmock driving a single horse and operating the oldest piece of horse drawn equipment – a 1904 Russell slip

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