TractorBy Doug Schroder


WINNEBAGO – It all started over 30 years ago when sometime in the mid 1970’s it was decided that students in FFA would drive their tractors to school on the last day before spring break. The tradition continued this year on Thursday, March 19, when 17 tractors showed up for the start of the parade at 6:15 a.m. at the granary on Alworth Road just south of town. It was a dark and chilly start to the day, and the procession to the high school was rather slow. Some of the tractors today are so huge they take up both lanes of the road. A few antique tractors joined in the mix, too. For instance, Cole Ellis drove a 1951 John Deere A that his grandfather, Karl Heeren had bought brand new in 1951. The tractor was refurbished about 10 years ago and is still used at times on the farm today.

Vice-Principal Dan Lemke, who was in charge of coordinating the whole affair, got into the spirit by donning his bib overalls, commemorative Tractor Day hoody, and work boots, to drive a tractor owned by Mitchell Farms. Dan made sure to take the tractor for a spin the day prior to the event to make sure he knew how to drive it.

Apparently Tractor Day is a favorite and endeared memory for many, as a posted video of the parade on Win-Du-Pec’s Facebook page garnered a reach of over 18,000 with 7,411 views, 136 shares, and a total of a little over 1,000 likes.

Winnebago isn’t the only school around to have Tractor Day. The Millidgeville FFA Facebook page mentioned that they have a day to drive tractors to school also.

Little boys sure like seeing the big machines. Ali Behn brought her son, Brayden, and Staci Thompson brought her son, Hayden, to see the Tractor Parade for the first time. It was a special moment for them. The little guys just loved it.

Bago grad, Dawn Monge, stopped by the high school parking lot on the way to taking her son, Austin, to day care so he could marvel at the machines. The parade was long over, but Dawn knew Austin would love it anyway.

May Tractor Day continue for many years to come.

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