|Grand Island Independent Story
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|Author:||Nebraska Cowman [ Sat Jun 08, 2013 8:30 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Grand Island Independent Story|
The Tractor Relay Across Nebraska rolled into Grand Island late Thursday night, with drivers and riders alike treated to barbecued hamburgers, chips and drinks served by members of the Northwest FFA and entertained by members of the Classic Country Cloggers.
“Relay” is the right word for the event because no person is obligated to make the entire trip, which started in Pine Bluffs, Wyo., and is set to end in Missouri Valley, Iowa.
“Skip” Meyer, who helped make the arrangements for Thursday’s segment from Kearney to Grand Island, said he is only a one-day driver.
“My back couldn’t stand driving the whole way,” said Meyer, who noted he also couldn’t make the entire trip because of his obligations “to take care of my animals.”
After starting in Pines Bluffs, the Nebraska stops included Sidney, Ogallala, North Platte, Cozad, Kearney, Grand Island, Columbus and Fremont.
Meyer and other members of the Platte Valley Antique Machinery Association were responsible for overseeing the Kearney to Grand Island leg of the relay. Leading the group was Donna Wilton of Hastings.
“We had the pedal to the metal all the way,” Wilton said, laughing. When Wilton was told that somebody said earlier that bicyclists from the Bicycle Ride Across Nebraska (BRAN) had passed the tractor procession, she took some good natured umbrage at the remark.
She noted that most of the BRAN riders had left Kearney earlier than the TRAN drivers. Wilton said three BRAN bicyclists did pass the tractors, “but we passed them again.”
Wilton said she did not volunteer to lead Thursday’s tractor parade.
“I think I was elected,” she said.
That remark was greeted by the observation, “Oh, you missed a meeting.” That prompted Wilton to break out in laughter again. But she did note that having a little knowledge of the local roads does help.
The second TRAN route follows Highway 30 across Nebraska, in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Lincoln Highway, one of the first transcontinental highways for cars in America. Wilton noted that when she reached Grand Island, she led the tractors down Old Highway 30 instead of new Highway 30, which would have taken them across the Highway 30 overpass to reach the Orscheln Farm and Home Store parking lot.
The tractorcade included a wide variety of antique tractors: McCormick, Farmall, McCormick Farmall, Minneapolis-Moline, Oliver, International, Allis-Chalmers, Case and others. The tractors showed a bit of the history of American tractor manufacturing.
Meyer pointed out a Farmall that was easily identifiable as a dealer “demonstrator” tractor because it was painted white. He noted that this was a true demonstrator because it could be verified by its registration number. He also pointed out an International Farmall 656 Gold demonstrator tractor that was part of Thursday’s group.
While some drivers were only doing a leg or two of the nine-leg journey, others were driving all the way from Pine Bluffs, Wyo., to Missouri Valley, Iowa. One of those drivers was Charlie Case of Ellston, Iowa, who described his hometown as close to the intersection of “Missouri and I-35.”
Case was driving a Massey-Harris tractor, which caused Meyer to protest that with his last name, Case should be driving a Case tractor. “I did once,” Case said.
Case said drove in the first TRAN, which started in Plattsmouth and ended in Lyman, Wyo. He drove a 1962 3010 John Deere during last year’s relay, but the tractor stopped running 80 miles from Lyman, much to his disappointment, he said.
Case said that last year, he drove in the mornings and his wife, Diane, drove the John Deere in the afternoons. He tried to empathize with his wife who drove during the hotter afternoon segments by turning the heater on full-blast in his pickup and refusing to listen to the radio, he said.
Speaking about his wife, Case noted, “I call her Honey Bunny.”
A quartet making the ride across Nebraska was the husband-and-wife team of Bob and I.J. Walters of Guide Rock, and their 8-year-old granddaughter, Gywn, of Doniphan, who will be a second-grader at Doniphan-Trumbull at the start of the new school year. The fourth member of the entourage was Oscar, a Dachshund.
Bob Walters reconfigured some farm equipment and used an old bus seat to create a cart with a comfortable seat for his wife and granddaughter to ride in. Mrs. Walters said that the cart has a tarp that can be pulled up on the frame to prevent the wind from hitting her and Gwyn during the chilly early morning hours. Later in the day, the tarp is lowered and an umbrella is raised to give shade to Bob on the tractor and the trio on the bus seat.
Mrs. Walters said her granddaughter had gone on one- or two-day tractor rides, but she was a little worried how Gwyn would do on a nine-day trip. But she said Gwyn has occupied herself by playing with toys, drawing and coloring. She also takes photos, especially of horses.
“I took a picture of a horse with black spots,” Gwyn said.
The Northwest FFA members served the barbecue meal and accepted free-will donations to make money for their chapter. What the students didn’t expect was to be recruited to do some “electric slide” country line dancing alongside the dancers from the Classic Country Cloggers. Six boys and three girls joined in for one dance.
Other the Classic Country Cloggers did all the dances, clogging to country tunes, doing a little “Lord of the Dance” to a couple of Irish tunes and working in one other surprise, with a belly dance number that spotlighted one woman with all the other women serving as a Middle Eastern chorus line.
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