Some three dozen tractors, ranging from late ’30s vintage models to modern machines, took to the roads along the Wabash River in Carroll County, Ind., in early June. They were participating in the fourth annual Delphi FFA Tractor Drive.
“We love doing it because the kids loving restoring and driving tractors, especially older ones,” says Doug Walker, Delphi FFA advisor and ag teacher. His classes typically restore up to five tractors per school year in the ag shop.
The money raised through the tractor drive is used for FFA scholarships, Walker says. Many of the participants who bring a tractor and drive every year are local supporters who love farming, tractors and FFA — not always in that order.
This was the first drive featuring no rain, or even the threat of rain. It did feature a hot day, but lots of shady roads along the 28-mile route helped offset the heat, Walker says.
“Many people think Carroll County is all flat corn and soybean fields, but that’s not true,” he adds. “We have some scenic roads as well, especially as you get down in the Wabash River area.”
The river cuts its way through the county, and this year’s tractor drive route featured several miles driving along Towpath Road, which runs close to the river in several locations. It was named after the days when entrepreneurs sought to move boats along the river.
This year’s lineup of tractors featured an Empire model made from leftover Willy’s Jeeps after World War II and an Allis-Chalmers D17 propane-powered tractor owned and driven by Dick Kruse, Crawfordsville. Kruse is an antique tractor buff who also helps with old machinery restoration projects at Pioneer Village at the Indiana State Fair.
A special John Deere 2010 was also part of the drive this year. It was donated to the Delphi FFA by the family of the late Wilbur Jones. The goal is to raffle off the tractor to raise money for the FFA scholarship fund — once the raffle process is approved. Walker says that’s an extended process, which means jumping through hoops and completing lots of paperwork. Look for an announcement about the raffle in the future.
Walker hopes to continue the Delphi FFA Tractor Drive in future years, and is considering charting routes in new territory within the county. If you didn’t get to participate this year, hop aboard a virtual tractor and make the drive through the pictures in the slideshow below.