By Julie Ann Madden
When going just 15 mph, one sees more of the countryside.
Plus, when one’s driving a tractor, one not only sees more of the scenery but hears the sounds traveling along rural roads.
“You sit up higher on a tractor and you’re not doing 60 or 70 mph so you see more of the scenery than you can with a car or pickup,” said Melvin Plueger of rural Le Mars. “On a tractor about 12 to 15 mph is all the faster we go.”
“This time of year it’s really beautiful driving through the country,” he added.
“When you go slow, you can see anything you want to along the road,” agreed his friend, Lloyd Borchers of rural Craig.
“You also get to meet people,” they said, and their wives, Joan Plueger, and Lorraine Borchers, agreed. Although most of the women don’t go on the tractor ride, they enjoy a day of visiting and setting up the food while the men are seeing the countryside.
The two men are coordinating the third annual Craig Tractor Ride, which will begin at 9:00 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 16 in Craig, then journey to Akron and back to Craig.
This Tractor Ride will be a memorial ride honoring the late Eldon “Fritz” Gabel of Akron.
Both coordinators are part of the Pioneer Machinery Club, based in Le Mars; and participate in tractor rides and parades. Gabel was also a member of this club.
It doesn’t matter if the tractor’s a John Deere or International Harvester or some other brand of tractor — the only requirements are tractors must be able to go at least 12 – 15 mph and a slow-moving vehicle emblem must be hung on the back of each tractor.
Tractor Ride participants will make a “Donut Stop” at Akron’s Total Motors and then enjoy a lunch, prepared by the Plymouth County Pork Producers at the end of the ride back in Craig. There will also be drawings for prizes.
There is no charge for participating in the Craig Tractor Ride.
“I always enjoyed driving a tractor,” said Borchers, who retired from farming about 14 years ago and found a new way to enjoy tractors — by collecting them.
He’s not sure which one of his several International Harvesters he’ll be driving. It could be the 1963 IH 560 Diesel which he bought when it was only a year old. Or he may end up driving his Oliver 88 or John Deere 720 Diesel as the Tractor Ride becomes a family affair with his children and grandchildren driving some.
But Plueger, who is still farming, will be driving his beloved International Harvester 656 Diesel. In fact, this is a 1967 model — just like the brand-new tractor he purchased from Adams Implement in Akron and farmed with nearly 50 years ago.
“Tractor Rides bring back old memories of when I started farming,” said Plueger, adding back then, they plowed the fields each spring. “It’s the most exciting time — turning over the earth and working it.”
Borchers has already rode on the annual WHO Radio Tractor Ride, which was based in Mason City this year, and both have participated in the annual club tractor ride the Saturday morning of the Plymouth County Fair.
The two began hosting the Craig Tractor Ride in 2012. The first tractor ride went from Craig to Ken Frerichs farm in rural Le Mars and back; and last year the route went to Larry’s Automobiles in Merrill and back.
There were tractor participants from as far away as Rock Valley, Orange City, Le Mars, Hawarden and Oyens, said Borchers, adding there were 28 tractors total. “We’re hoping for a few more tractors this year.”
All tractor enthusiasts are welcome to participate in this Craig Tractor Ride. For more information, contact Plueger at 712-533-6269 or Lloyd Borchers at 712-562-6242 or 712-540-4788.
This tractor ride is sponsored by Iowa State Bank of Ireton and Craig; Farmers Coop Elevator of Craig; Dustar Trucking of Ireton; Le Mars Toy Store, Titan Machinery of Le Mars; and Icon Ag Turf of Le Mars.