A Tractor Cruise for Charity

Missouri man completes a tractor cruise after three tries.

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The “big picture”: The Kansas City cruise, from its starting point.

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Well, it's that time of year again: Time to get out the antique and vintage iron, get it washed, prettied up and ready for the show. The show I'm talking about is the tractor cruise, where some young nuts and us old ones go for a nice, long drive in the country on old farm tractors.

I just completed my first tractor cruise, and I am very proud of my efforts this year. In two previous attempts I was the first one back to the starting point.

My first attempt was on a 1937 John Deere Model AR with a top speed of 6.5 mph. I was in the last group to leave the starting point. After driving about 5 miles, I could see for about a mile and a half, and in that space, no tractors were in sight. I think if I had remained on the road, I might still be out there.

That event was a benefit to raise money for Camp Quality (a camp for children with serious medical problems) in northwestern Missouri.

My next cruise attempt was Camp Quality's "Show Me" Tractor Cruise. This time I was equipped with a faster tractor: a 1951 John Deere Model AR with a top speed of about 10.5 mph. It had carburetor problems and was running on a borrowed carburetor. Not having run the tractor for an extended time, I wasn't aware that it had a leak in the float. Needless to say, after running a while, it loaded up and would only pull itself at an idle. That put me on the "haul back" trailer and I again finished first.

Then, on May 6 of 2006, the Greater Kansas City Two-Cylinder Club sponsored a tractor cruise to benefit The Greater Kansas City Dream Factory. The Dream Factory grants wishes to seriously ill children. As a club officer and a member of the planning committee, I had no choice but to make another run at completing a cruise. This time I actually finished in fourth place - quite an accomplishment for me!

The day started out very cool and cloudy, but spirits were warm and friendly. We left from the Tractor Supply Co. store (TSC hosted the event) in Independence, Mo., east on Highway 291 toward Lake City. We wound around Jackson County countryside to Buckner, Mo., then headed north to Sibley Orchard near Sibley, Mo., and historic Fort Osage.

Fort Osage was the site of the lunch stop, where we dined on turkey sandwiches and cookies baked by some of the drivers' wives. Then it was time to travel back to our starting point. When we arrived there, we were treated to a hog roast dinner. During the meal, the group presented the Dream Factory a check for $12,018.

Cruise Chairman Dan Hanna did a great job of organizing the Tractor Cruise. Fire Station 76, a group of retired firefighters who restore vintage fire equipment, led the cruise for us. We were also grateful for the assistance of the Independence, Mo., Police Department, and the Jackson County (Mo.) Sheriff's Department. Motorcycle officers were with us all day, keeping the line closed up and warning oncoming traffic. Thanks to their assistance, we had a safe journey.

As antique tractor enthusiasts, we have all been involved in shows and parades, but this was our first attempt as a club to use our love for old iron to help others. I am sure we will do something like this again. FC 

For more information: 

- Duane Craig, email: ducraig@earthlink.net 

Pictures and video online at www.gkctcc.com