'Tis the season for tractors
It's a time to be safe with lots of tractors in the farm fields and moving on main roadways.
That's a message that some young Blooming Prairie Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapter members were promoting as they drove their farm tractors to Blooming Prairie High School on Friday, May 25.
"It's also a time to have a good time," said Haley Ryks, piloting a McCormick Farmall Super M tractor. As she parked her tractor on Main Street, fellow chapter members were giving her a hard time about popping the clutch.
Ryks was one of 13 tractor drivers who met at The Bakery at 7 a.m. to pick up some pastries. The FFA members then lined up their tractors on Main Street behind a Chevy pickup driven by FFA Chapter advisor Bill Rinkenberger.
The parade went west on Main Street and then headed for the Prairie Manor Care Center, 200 NW 3rd St.
"The residents may not recognize me," Ryks laughs. She works at the Care Center.
This year's tractor parade was the eighth annual, said Rinkenberger.
He says the special gathering of tractors has a three-fold purpose:
• It promotes rural agriculture.
• It celebrates the end of the planting season.
• It also signals the last day seniors have classes at Blooming Prairie High School.
Many of the student tractor drivers had American flags mounted on their tractors. "It's Memorial weekend and the kids get into the spirit of the holiday," said Rinkenberger.
Eighth grader Remington Peterson drove a 1953 Allis Chalmers WD45 onto Main Street. His antique tractor caught the eye of FFA advisor Rinkeberger. "This tractor is just like what my father (Bud) drove years ago," Rinkeberger said.
Senior Jeremy Hocking drove a Farmall 806 to school last Friday. He said this year's parade was his fourth.
Hocking said it was especially gratifying for him to drive by the Prairie Manor Care Center. "Most of the residents are farm grown and like to see kids bring in the tractors," he said.
He plans to attend North Dakota State University this fall, majoring in agricultural engineering.
Sophomore Kaiden Finley led the parade, following Rinkenberger. "Thanks," said Finley, telling Ryks he appreciated her giving him the opportunity to lead the journey to the school.
After zipping through the circle drive at Prairie Manor, the FFA members headed to the high school where they parked their tractors and posed for some group photos.