Members of the River Hills Antique Tractor Club plan on cruising the back roads of Perry County. The group will hold its 19th annual Tractor Adventure Ride this Saturday, July 31. The tractors will take off at 8:30 a.m.
“This event helps the people of the community celebrate their heritage and background,” event organizer Marty Conrad said. “They take pride in that and we will have at least three generations of families on this ride.”
The journey was originally launched from Fruitland, but now alternates between Altenburg and Perryville. Conrad said the ride switches between the two locations for several reasons.
“It’s hard to make up different routes if you leave from the same place, Conrad said. “At some point you will run out of places to go,” Conrad. “We alternate because it helps us make the experience a little more fun and you see different places.”
This year’s version will start at the East Perry Fair Grounds in Altenburg and run through Frohna and Brazeau for about 35 miles before finishing back at the fair grounds. The journey will have a pair of rest stops, with one being at the Salem Lutheran Church in Farrar and the last stop at the Heartland Social Club in Uniontown. The atmosphere can almost be described as a parade that stays mostly on county roads and away from major roads such as Highways 51 and 61
The ride will be split into three separate groups as not to interrupt traffic as much as possible.
That part is probably necessary as Conrad estimated the ride encompasses nearly 100 riders each year, coming from Missouri, Illinois and Tennessee. The farthest rider is coming from Oklahoma.
“There are a lot of people that stand along the route and watch us, or stand in their yards in pop-up tents as we go by,” Conrad said. “The ride has quite the following.”
River Hills Antique Tractor Club is sticking to its name as the tractors must be at least 40 years old or older to participate and run at least 10 miles per hour.
“We don’t want the newer tractors in the ride, partly because that’s how they set it up 18 years ago and that’s how we wish to keep it,” Conrad said. “I guess that makes the tractors at least from 1981, which isn’t too old anymore.”
While many of the riders are expected to be of the older generation, Conrad believes there will be quite a few younger faces in the row of tractors.
“A majority of the riders are 40 years or older,” Conrad said. “There will be retirement aged people, but this is something that is passed down from generations, so fathers pass it to sons and so on. It’s more of a tradition.”