Statewide Tractor Ride To Visit Palo Alto Area This Summer
The popular pastime of tractor rides has long been enjoyed across the area. Numerous local rides are conducted annually in communities around the area, but later this summer, one of the premiere events of its kind will visit Northwest Iowa. The WHO Radio “Great Iowa Tractor Ride” will come to the area in June, returning to the Clay County Fairgrounds the weekend of June 19 through June 22.
The WHO tractor ride came through Northwest Iowa in 2001, during its’ fifth year of existence. The event annually attracts in the neighborhood of 1,200 people, including the actual tractor ride participants.
In selecting a route for the tractor ride, part of the route will run through the Lost Island Lake and Ruthven area, providing riders with some of the natural beauty of the Prairie Pothole region of Northwest Iowa. The actual route will be finalized by WHO officials and officials of the Iowa Department of Transportation later this Spring.
According to WHO’s Janine VanVark, coordinator of the event, one of the reasons for returning to Northwest Iowa was the scenery, as well as the facilities offered by the Clay County Fairgrounds to house a mass gathering of tractors. “We needed some beautiful countryside to drive through and your countryside had a key part in our selection.”
While the event is geared towards the actual tractor ride, there is a public attraction to it, and VanVark says the public is encouraged to attend the various events that will be associated with the ride. “We want the people to come out and see the tractors as they come in on Sunday, and mingle with the drivers each evening as they come back from the day’s ride.”
Each day, the ride begins around 6:30 and wraps up by mid-afternoon. Drivers usually refuel their tractors, clean them up, make them shine for visitors and prepare for the next day’s ride. An evening meal is offered each night for the participants. Preliminary plans call for lunch stops on Monday, June 20, in Laurens and Tuesday, June 21, in Peterson. Then on Tuesday night, the final night of the event, a tractor pull featuring the vintage machines and riders participating in the ride will be conducted at the Clay County Fairgrounds. That tractor pull will be open to the public for viewing, free of charge. Participation in the pull will be limited to actual registered participants in the ride.
Area residents who are interested in participating in the ride can obtain more information and register by going to the WHO website at: www.whoradio.com