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Antique tractor owners and admirers from around southeastern Illinois showcased their family history on Labor Day during the 4th Annual Wayne County Antique Tractor Drive.
29 tractors participated in the trek this year, which started and ended at the Wayne County Fairgrounds in Fairfield. After a swing by Way-Fair at Fairfield Memorial Hospital, the tractors headed past the Fairfield High School FFA Greenhouse. They headed east through the south side of Fairfield and back up to Leo French Park. After a drink break, they headed northeast past Jasper School, and out through rural Jasper Township, eventually coming back into Fairfield on North First Street. The 17 mile trek took around 2 hours to complete.
Around 70 people joined the tractor owners for lunch, where each driver spoke about their tractor. Lunch was provided by the Fairfield FFA Chapter. Each driver was given an 8 x 10 photograph of them seated on their tractor. David White, President of the Wayne County Farm Bureau, presented the awards.
The Earl Smith Memorial Oldest Driver award was presented to 89 year old Gearl Greenwalt of Wayne City.
The Youngest Driver Award was presented to 18 year old Travis Hughes of Cisne.
The Oldest Tractor Award was given to Rodger Parrott of Fairfield who drove a 1952 Ford Model 8N.
The last award was for the participant who drove the furthest to the event. Chris Dunkel from Mt. Carmel received the award, driving 48 miles to participate in this year’s tractor drive.
Each award winner received a 1/16 scale antique toy tractor.
This year, the event included tractor games after lunch. Games included a slow race, barrel push, chain pull, and balloon pop.
Four tractors participated in the slow race. The winner took the longest time to cross the 50 foot finish line. First place was awarded to Billy Doggett of Mill Shoals.
Five tractors competed in the first barrel push contest, where tractors had to navigate an empty plastic barrel, using only their front tires. Fred Blessing of Fairfield won with a time of 3.31 seconds.
Five tractors competed in the second barrel push contest, which used a smaller barrel. Bob O’Daniel of Fairfield placed first with a time of 3.47 seconds.
Eight tractors participated in the log chain pull, where tractors had to navigate a 20 foot log chain around cones. Fred Blessing of Fairfield won the contest with a time of 28.81 seconds.
All contest winners received a Wayne County Farm Bureau hat.
The Wayne County Farm Bureau would like to thank 4-R Equipment, Albion Equipment, Herschel Johnson Implement, LeMond’s Carter Limited, and McLean Implement for sponsoring this year's drive. Another huge thank you goes to the Fairfield Auxiliary Police for their assistance in navigating the streets and traffic while driving through Fairfield. Finally, the Farm Bureau would like to thank all of the volunteers and their families for assisting with this year’s Wayne County Tractor Drive.
Proceeds from the event will support the Wayne County Ag in the Classroom program.
Gearl Greenwalt of Wayne City won the Earl Smith Memorial Oldest Driver Award during the 4th Annual Wayne County Tractor Drive. Greenwalt is 89 years young.
Travis Hughes of Cisne won the award for Youngest Driver during the 4th Annual Wayne County Tractor Drive. Hughes is 18 years old.
Rodger Parrott of Fairfield won the award for having the Oldest Tractor at the 4th Annual Wayne County Tractor Drive. Parrott drove a 1952 Ford Model 8N.
Chris Dunkel from Mt. Carmel won the award for Farthest Driven at the 4th Annual Wayne County Tractor Drive. Dunkel drove 48 miles from Mt. Carmel, IL.
Jack Fearn of Cisne directs a barrel as part of the barrel push contest during the 4th Annual Wayne County Tractor Drive.