No one will say, 'Gentlemen, start your engines,' and there won't be 300,000 people watching, but the Indiana FA tractor drive is in its fourth year toward becoming a tradition. It was started to raise money and awareness for the FFA in Indiana. It does both those things but it has also led to friendships amongst people from various corners of Indiana who would have not met otherwise.
For example, Kerry Graves of Linton never heard of Bill Canary, Franklin. Now his annual visit with Bill in between stops on the tractor drive are one of the reasons he looks forward to attending. Last year more than 20 tractors and riders made the 40 mile trek through the highways and byways of Johnson County. This year more tractors and riders are expected.
Delphi FFA, for example, brought five tractors last year, but hopes to bring 10 or more this year. The kids are returning, with help from parents and businesses volunteering truck time and fuel to get the tractors to Johnson County, says advisor Doug Walker, because last year's riders enjoyed both seeing the countryside at 12 miles per hour, plus meeting fellow drivers.
This year's event begins at the Johnson County Fairgrounds in Franklin on Saturday, April 10. The event is expected to cover about 40 miles within Johnson County. The group will take a break for lunch at the Indiana FFA Center near Trafalgar, plus work in a couple of snack breaks as well. Camp Atterbury will be on the agenda, or at least driving around part of it, as it was last year. However, this year's path will be different than last year, Brian Buchanan says,
Buchanan is the executive director of the Indiana FFA Foundation. He and Tim Newcomb, a farm boy and representative of Beck's Hybrids, Atlanta, Ind., developed the idea of a tractor ride to promote FFA. There is also a bike ride sponsored by the FFA during the year.
All kinds of tractors will be expected for the ride. While there are no limits on what you can bring, you will likely find more older models than post-70 tractors. Last year's models included a John Deere 50 and International M. Only one tractor had to drop out for mechanical reasons last year, and another had to be repaired before it could continue.
That's likely better than the record of finish will be at the Indianapolis 500 later this spring.
For details, call Buchanan at 317-878-4178, or email him at [email protected].