Aiming For Fun

This Massey Ferguson dealer brings a little firepower to local parades.

Olson buys about 400 balls for each parade and shoots them out of the cannon 20 at a time.

Olson buys about 400 balls for each parade and shoots them out of the cannon 20 at a time.

Along the Minnesota and Wisconsin border region, things get a little, well, explosive come spring and summer.  That’s thanks, in part, to Ron Olson, owner of Scheidegger Implement, the Massey Ferguson dealer in the beautiful Buffalo County valley of Waumandee, Wis.  He has a love for things that go “boom,” and he likes to share.

For Ron and his neighbors, things get started in late May, when he loads up a specially made “pumpkin cannon” and hits the local parade circuit. However, instead of large, round orange fruit, he shoots small plastic balls. “They just fly all over,” Olson says. The little bouncy orbs subsequently rain down on the streets and sidewalks along the route, as young parade watchers chase them with glee.

“We buy about 400 balls for each parade and shoot them about 20 at a time,” Olson says of the cannon. Two of his customers, Rick Reuter and John Sendelbach, both native to the Waumandee valley, made the cannon. The air reservoir is an old anhydrous tank, and the under carriage was made from a manure spreader. Olson pushes the cannon with a compact Massey Ferguson tractor. “It’s entertaining, to say the least,” Olson says, chuckling.

During recent summers, Olson and crew have operated the cannon in three parades, the final one on the Fourth of July. Olson then finishes off Independence Day with a celebration at Scheidegger Implement, the dealership that’s been in his family for three generations. Olson’s father started the fireworks display in 1989; about 30 people showed up. Now, with hot dogs provided by the local Waumandee State Bank and ice cream sponsored by the Buffalo County Dairy Promotion Committee, plus patriotic music—in addition to things that go boom—some 2,000 to 2,500 people have attended the gathering in recent years.

“It’s grown tremendously,” Olson says, “and I’m happy to throw the party. It’s just a great time!”