Tractors beam in sunshine

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 5, 2006

By Kari Lucin, staff writer

BANCROFT &045; Grandpa’s Tractor Ride wasn’t just for grandpas this year. Several young men, and one woman, Twyla Larson, drove their tractors 21 miles from Clarks Grove through Bancroft and Manchester and back to Clarks Grove.

You couldn’t have dialed up better weather for the ride Saturday morning. Many kids lined the route to see their grandpas ride by on a tractor.

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&8220;I like Grandpa Dave’s because it was fast!&8221; said Alex Ulve after his grandfather, Dave Mullenbach, passed by with the rest of the parade.

The ride got an early start at 9 a.m. Saturday, heading for the Good Samaritan Center on County Road 14, where the grandpas and their friends did a loop in front of the building so that residents

could see the 30 or so antique tractors roar by.

The sky was sunny and clear. Last year, the ride endured a steady drizzle. This is the second year for the event.

&8220;It was everything we hoped for and then some, including the weather,&8221; said Grandpa’s Tractor Ride organizer Norman Johnson.

A few people got out their lawn chairs in front of the Good Sam, and at least one little boy brought his own miniature tractor, sitting and watching the parade from it. Most people stayed in their cars, some so that they could make a loop around and see the tractors pass by again at a later place in their route.

&8220;We just enjoy tractors,&8221; said spectator Jeanine Day. &8220;We’ve got tractors too, we hope next year we can take part in it.&8221;

Some tractor drivers decided to join up during the ride itself, so there were more tractors at the end of the route than there were at the beginning, when there were only 23.

&8220;We didn’t have any registration,&8221; Johnson said. &8220;We tried to get them to sign the sheet right before we started, get an idea of a name and a tractor that it went with, but we didn’t catch them all, of course.&8221;

Though there was no registration fee, the Tractor Ride did raise over $260 in donations for the Eagles Cancer Telethon fund.

For its second year, the ride featured plenty of classic farm equipment names such as John Deere, Allis-Chalmers, Massey-Ferguson, Farmall, Minneapolis-Moline, Oliver and McCormick. They came in gray, orange, green and red.

&8220;My dad’s a farmer, so I thought I’ve got to get him out here for this,&8221; Candy Pierce said. &8220;My dad used to have a Minneapolis-Moline.&8221;

Pierce pointed out a similar tractor during the parade itself, noting the difference between its front wheels and the ones on her father’s old tractor.

After they went by the Good Sam, the ride actually stopped at a lemonade stand down the road where kids were serving treats. The pause in the route culminated in two tractor drivers paying $80 so that every driver could grab lemonade and a bar.

&8220;Last year it rained, and most of them were just anxious to get loaded up and get out of there because they were wet, and this year everybody stood around talking and visiting and laughing and just enjoying the day,&8221; Johnson said. &8220;You couldn’t ask for anything better.&8221;

(Contact Kari Lucin at or 379-3444.)