Tractor Ride brings 450 classic tractors to rural roadways
By KRISS NELSON
FARNHAMVILLE – The 21st annual WHO Radio Tractor Ride kicked off on Monday for the first of a three day tour.
This year’s ride was based out of the Wild Rose Casino in Jefferson, with routes taking tractor drivers and passengers on three different tours going north, south and east of town.
Monday’s route was the longest for the tractor ride, which made up 95 miles from Jefferson to Farnhamville, then onto Dayton for lunch before eventually returning to Jefferson, which remains the home base site for the entire tractor ride.
Landus Cooperative’s location in Farnhamville rolled out the welcome mat for the 450 registered tractors on the first day of the ride.
“I think it’s great fun to see all of these tractors,” said Matt Thompson Landus Cooperative’s Farnhamville location manager. “We are glad we have the space and glad we could host them, it’s fun.”
The first stop in Farnhamville gave the riders and drivers the chance to grab water, cookie or an apple before climbing back on their tractor and making their stop at Hidden Acres Christian Center near Dayton, where lunch was served.
Mark Croonquist, of Moorland, has participated in the WHO Radio Tractor Ride for 16 of the 21 years the event has been held.
Croonquist said the tractor ride is an opportunity to gather with about 10 of his cousins each year.
“It’s fun, especially with all of the cousins getting together, it’s a cousin-reunion for us,” he said.
He planned to drive his 1953 WD45 Allis Chalmers all three days with the help of his son, Nick Croonquist.
“I drive in the morning then my son takes over,” Mark Croonquist said. “We both enjoy it.”
Croonquist’s tractor is one that has been a part of his family for several years.
“It was my uncle, Bernard Croonquist’s, and I bought it from his estate,” he said. “I bought it because it was his. I have memories of this tractor growing up and I did a little bit of everything with it.”
Croonquist was the first of the eight divisions that made up the tractor ride.
“They are all divided up by speed capacity,” said Scot Knock, sales manager for WHO Radio. “The first group has a 10 mile per hour capacity and there were about 25 in this group.”
Dennis Smalley, of Jefferson, was part of the second group to come through Farnhamville on that first day of the tractor ride.
This was Smalley’s first time participating in the WHO Radio Tractor Ride.
“It was close by this year, so that is the main reason I did it,” he said. “I thought about it for years, just haven’t done it.”
Smalley said, he is already considering taking part in the ride for next year.
Smalley was driving his 1963 Farmall 560 tractor that he and his grandson, Landon Pontius, restored together as a 4-H project.
He said his grandson would be taking over the driver’s seat at noon and will also be participating in the Central Plains’ FFA Tractor Ride on Monday, July 3.
Smalley and Pontius have had their tractor in other events such as the Fourth of July parade in Gowrie, the Bell Tower Parade in Jefferson and other tractor rides.
Knock said they were pleased with the routes chosen for the tractor ride this year.
“We are excited to be up in this part of the country and excited to show this part of the state of Iowa to these drivers,” he said. “There’s beautiful land and it will be a great ride.”
Tuesday’s ride took the group into Guthrie and Carroll counties for a 91 mile trip and Wednesday, the final day took the drivers east of Jefferson into Boone County.
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