TRACTOR CARAVAN — Participants in the 2015 KOWZ/KRUE/KKOR 92.1 Country Minnesota Tractor Ride take a break during one of several stops along the route. (Photo by Darrell Hansen)


Staff Writer

The 2015 KOWZ/KRUE/KKOR 92.1 Country Minnesota Tractor Ride was held Saturday, June 13 in our area. Brad Kubat, KOWZ radio, was in charge of organizing the event and reports he received a great deal of assistance from "Dude" Spatenka and Gene Linse.

A $20 entry fee was assessed, which included participation in the event, an event T-Shirt, and a meal was served at the Corn Palace ag center in New Richland.

Thanks to all the great sponsors: Keck’s Repair in rural Owatonna, Broskoff Structures in Geneva and SunOpta in Hope.

Upwards of 100 tractors and their drivers gathered at Ag Power in Owatonna at 8 Saturday morning for the annual tractor run. Following the National Anthem, 123 tractors of all makes, sizes, styles and years, including a few old Massey Harris, along with Allis Chalmers, International Harvester, John Deere, Massey Ferguson, McCormick, and New Holland, headed out of Owatonna.

Kubat, a Steele County farmer and collector of Oliver Tractors, drove the lead tractor, an Oliver 770. The Owatonna Police department was on hand to direct traffic until all the tractors had left the city limits. Members of the Steele, Waseca, and Freeborn County Sheriff’s Department also assisted along the route.

Several tractors were equipped with protection from the sun, as well as the light rain that came down from time to time. Many tractors had American flags attached  as it was Flag Day. A couple tractors pulled enclosed hay wagons so other members of their family could participate in this unique event.

En route to the Corn Palace, the tractor run made a brief stop at Keck’s for refreshments, as well as passed by the front of New Richland Care Center and Country Neighbors so that the older residents would be able to observe all of the tractors, some very close to 100 years old. Kubat said that many of the tractors had stories behind them, as they had belonged to, or been operated by grandparents and fathers of those driving them.

While at the Corn Palace, the drivers were able to enjoy a light lunch which included slices of Godfather's Pizza, a cool beverage and ice cream sandwiches before it was time to get back on their tractors again for the next leg of their ride. From New Richland the drivers directed their tractors on to State Highway 13 and then to Freeborn County Road 35, which brought them to Geneva, where they made a stop at Broskoff Structures.   Several employees from Broskoff Structures, along with Darrell Hansen, Jessica Johnson, and "Frank the Buffalo" from Frontier Communications, welcomed the tractors and their drivers to Geneva.

Several employees at Broskoff’s assisted in serving root beer floats provided by Frontier Communications.  In visiting with some of the drivers, it was learned there was a wide variety. One group brought their tractor all the way from Wisconsin to take part. Many commented about how the crops, especially the corn, here in the area were progressing. Traveling at slower speeds gives you a greater opportunity to observe and enjoy the many great things you pass by.

The recent warm weather, which was followed by a nice amount of rain, had really gotten the crops off to a good start.

Following the break in Geneva, the tractors traveled on to Ellendale where they took a short detour, passing by Whispering Oak. The residents had been made aware of the pending arrival of the tractor parade and many of them came outside so they could get a closer look.  Many of them smiled remembering those good old days on their farms.

The tractors then made their way to SunOpta in Hope where they were once again treated to refreshments, before they began their last leg of their trip. The tractor ride returned to Ag Power in Owatonna about 4:30.

Even though the weather didn't provide a perfect day, those who participated were hardy Minnesotans and got through the day too much difficulty.

Kubat, who works part time as a DJ on KOWZ and KKOR radio, said that it was a successful event and many of those participating expressed their desire to come back again next year. Kubat reports that for the past seven years different routes had been developed for the annual ride and next year will be no different.