Kobersteins honored at 2023 JC Threshing Bee

Sondra and Rod Koberstein honored at 2023 Threshing Bee


The honorees for the 2023 Jewell County Threshing Bee were the Koberstein family from Loveland, Colorado, (starting from left) Eric Hirsch, Lisa Hirsch, Sondra Koberstein, Rod Koberstein, Scott Koberstein and Michelle Koberstein.

The Jewell County Historical Society honored Sondra and Rod Koberstein from Loveland, Colorado, for their assistance over 28 years with the Jewell County Threshing Bee. Sondra and Rod, and often several of their family members, have attended the threshing bee starting in 1995. They come several days before the threshing bee starts and park their camper just west of the Farm History Museum Building No. 1. They brought their first restored John Deere, a 1934 Model D tractor to the bee in 1996 and were hooked on attending for many more years.

Rod had the pleasure of driving the 2023 raffle tractor, a 1947 John Deere Model AN, in the parade both Saturday and Sunday. Rod's entire family helped restore this tractor and they donated it to the historical society in 2009 as the raffle tractor for that year. That tractor ended up in the hands of Ted Thummel of Esbon. The society was able to purchase this tractor at Ted's sale in 2022 to be used as this year's raffle tractor. This tractor is in like new condition as every part was restored and repaired or replaced as needed.

The 1934 John Deere the Kobersteins brought from Colorado for this years parade was driven by their son, Scott, with Sondra riding on the fender on Saturday and joined by their daughter-in-law, Michelle Koberstein, on Sunday. Their daughter and son-in-law, Lisa and Eric Hirsch, and Tony De Leon from Alvin, Texas, also attended the parade on both days. Tony is also a long time helper in putting on the threshing bee and he is a treasured member of the Threshing Bee family. Tony and Rod both served on the same ship for three years during their Navy service.

Sondra has deep roots in Jewell County. Her mother, Cheryl Beukenhorst Neuburger, was graduated from Ionia High School in 1946. Her father, Don Neuburger, was raised in Mankato and was graduated from Mankato High School in 1943 after only three years in high school. He joined the Navy before graduation so did not attend the graduation ceremony. Sondra's grandparents were Eva Stites Beukenhorst, and Bill Beukenhorst, who lived in Ionia in the late 1930s. In addition, Sondra's great-grandfather was Zeke Stites who lived northwest of Ionia. After Sondra's grandfather died, Eva married Gerald Boller, who lived south of Cawker City, but moved to Jewell County as the Glen Elder dam was being built. Gerald's farm was near Boller Point on Waconda Lake. Don Neuburgers' step-father was Jim Gilliam whose name is now on the historical society's blacksmith shop on the historical society grounds. Mr. Gilliam was a blacksmith in Mankato and Don donated much of the contents for the blacksmith shop from the one on the south side of Mankato following its demise.

Sondra and Rod extended their sincere appreciation for the friendship of the people in Jewell County. They have many fond memories of their experiences at the threshing bee and these experiences have been a highlight of their lives.


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