Overwhelming support for drive

This man drives a Farmall M in the Sibley tractor drive Saturday / CIFN photo.

SIBLEY – Saturday was a beautiful day for a tractor drive and apparently many others had the same feeling.

The annual Sibley Burr Oaks area drive, which raises money for the American Cancer Society and Relay for Life, was overwhelming – in a good way. While 50 to 60 tractors were initially expected to participate in the event, over 70 ended up cruising the roads of Ford County.

“Every year, we continue to make a pretty good amount (of money),” explained organizer Russ Tjarks.

Tractor drivers enjoyed new scenery this year as the drive traveled southwest out of Sibley down toward Gibson City.

“When we get to Gibson, we are going to stop and visit the Hollybrook nursing facility and after that, moving over to the annex by the hospital then we are going to parade down Sangamon Avenue and over to the VFW,” Tjarks said.

Don Hanson and his family were honored at lunch as he has been one of the top supporters ever since the event started. He not only helped with donations but by providing tractors to participants who have needed one to drive during past years.

Tjarks is a firm believer in the Farmer’s Almanac after the nice weekend weather.

“Anybody that doesn’t believe in the almanac better start believing in it,” Tjarks said. “It says we are supposed to have a beautiful day today and we got one.”

Participant Dave Herz borrowed a friend’s 806 tractor and he seemed to enjoy the experience.

“He was kind enough to let me use it and we are going to go for a ride.”

This was especially fun for Herz since he didn’t have anything to do but drive. It is unusual for Herz not to be too busy during a vintage tractor event has he oversees the Central States Threshermen’s Reunion each summer at Pontiac, serving as president.

“I have no worries, I have no problems and it’s just a good time for me to get away and relax,” added Herz.

A scaled-down event was held during 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We just did a parade past the nursing homes and went over to the AMVETS in Elliott and had lunch,” Tjarks recalled. “It wasn’t a main one like we usually do.”

Saturday marked the 17th year for the Sibley tractor drive.


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