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Corn+Soybean Digest

Kick Up Your Heels

(Next in a series looking at ways farmers relax and forget about the daily grind.)

Jerry and Donna Zubke — the Bobby and Sissy of the polka dance world — hop, twirl, kick, step and dip with the best of them. They say dancing is the best thing they've ever done to forget about the pressures of farming.

“It's a wonderful break from farming and I just have fun and socialize. It's a blast,” says Jerry, 60, who farms 1,500 acres in a family operation at Milbank, SD. “My dad, who always loved to dance, told me: ‘Get your dancing done while you still can.’ And that's just what I'm doing.”

It all started about four years ago, after the Zubkes took a two-week vacation to Texas, which included a lot of dancing. They came back with a desire to keep dancing. So they searched the Internet and discovered they could find all kinds of places to dance, and one within 12 miles of home. Now, they sometimes hop in their motor home and travel 350 miles or more if there's a big polka dance festival. Officially, polka dancing includes not only the polka, but also the waltz and two-step.

“It's something Donna and I can do together now and when we retire,” Zubke says. “A lot of guys in retirement do one thing and their wives do another. I don't want that; I want to do things together.”

Sure, some of the guys have given him a bad time, even called him “kind of a pansy.” But Zubke could care less. “Until I found this, I didn't really have anything much that I liked to do except work and church. Now I look forward to the weekends. It's just been wonderful and it's good exercise, and much more fun than that elliptical machine in my basement.

“But the most fun I have is watching my wife, with that little glitter in her eye. She's having fun and I can be part of it,” he says.

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