About a dozen tractors pulled out of the yard of the Washington Township Consolidated School this morning at 9 a.m. in the fourth annual fundraising tractor ride.
Dave and Sheryl Book, organizers of the event, said the route for this year’s ride would take the tractors west on County Road F31, crossing Bays Branch State Wildlife Area and skirting the north side of Lake Panorama.
The group expects to grow by about eight more tractors as others fall in along the route. The ride will stop for lunch at the historical village in Panora, Dave Book said.
The route is often designed to pass by area nursing homes, Sheryl Book said, where residents often turn out to see the vintage tractors and reminisce about their experience with them. She said the oldest machine in this year’s ride is a 1944 Farmall H.
The 2012 ride traveled to Springbrook State Park near Guthrie Center, while routes around Perry and Adel were chosen for the second and third years.
Francis Gilmore, longtime resident of Washington Township, sat atop his 1972 John Deere 40-20. Though well past retirement age, Gilmore said he still farms.
“I tell people I’m too dumb to do anything else,” he said, but he is plenty sharp enough to keep his vintage tractor in top condition.
Proceeds from the annual tractor ride, which falls on the last weekend in June, help support ongoing restoration efforts at the school. The morning began with a community breakfast in the school lunchroom.