Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 21, 2018

Empty Nest: Fall Tractor Ride

By Curt Swarm
Curt Swarm

As you may have read in one of my previous columns, I drove a tractor in my first organized tractor ride this year—the WHO Radio Great Tractor Ride—and had a ball.  I was fortunate enough to be provided with a tractor with a double seat so that Mary, who had never been on a tractor (Can you believe it--a small-town Iowa girl?) could accompany me.  My appetite whetted, I was hankering for another ride.  The problem, of course, is that I don’t own a tractor.  So, I did what any red-blooded American male would do—I pleaded and begged until a group let me join their ride and, here’s the best part—furnish me with a tractor—one with a buddy seat so that Mary could go along.  Yep.  
The Big Creek Tractor Association Inc. in Mt. Pleasant is having its fall tractor ride on Saturday, Sept. 21.  It will leave from the Old Tractor Headquarters at the Old Threshers grounds in Mt. Pleasant at 8:30 a.m., head for Wayland for a snack, then go through Brighton to Polishville for a stuff-yourself-’til-you-hurt farm lunch.  From there it will travel to Lockridge for an afternoon break, then back to Mt. Pleasant.  All in all, it should be a grand ride on a beautiful fall day.   Rain date will be September 28, if necessary.
And it’s even for a good cause.  Proceeds will go to the local youth trapshooting club.  In years past, proceeds have gone to H2O (Help to Others), Dollars for Scholars, John Hays Water Purification, and Drive-a-Tractor.  Drive a Tractor is a program started by the late Dave Timmerman, whereby kids (or adults) who have never driven a tractor, or want to drive one, are allowed to do so at Old Threshers.
The purpose of the Big Creek Tractor Association is to organize tractor rides, preserve history with exhibits and educational material, renew memories of vintage tractors, create enthusiasm for tractors, and provide an opportunity for fellowship with other tractor cronies, i.e., have a tire kick’n, engine inspect’n good time.  If it sounds like a hoot, I can assure you, it is!
The Big Creek Tractor Association Inc. was organized in 2007.  It currently has 65 members.  Two of the founding members, Dave Timmerman and Mark Fitzpatrick, have since passed away.  Memorial rides have been held in their honor on Memorial Day.  Last year, the route went by Mark Fitzpatrick’s home in rural New London.  Close to 50 family members were out on the lawn to wave as “Grandpa’s parade” passed by.  Also on the lawn were some of “Grandpa’s toys”--restored tractors and a custom pickup.  The comment was heard, “Grandpa was always such a ‘get’r done’ type of guy.”
The route also went by the New London nursing home, which had been notified of the tractor ride.  Many of the residents were out front watching.  As the unit towing the porta-potty passed, an elderly gentleman stepped forward to cheer and clap.        
Want to join the fun?  Contact Ed Seggerman at 319-400-5928, or Fred Strothman at 319-850-2384.  Get your farm duds out, put a stem of hay in your mouth, and celebrate what made (and still makes) Iowa the great state it is—agriculture!

Have a good story?  Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, email him at curtswarm@yahoo.com, or visit his website at www.empty-nest-words-photos-and-frames.com