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View from the Cab: Driving for a cause

(Kent and his daughter, Kenadee, in downtown Fairbury on the Sibley area tractor drive)

By: Kent Casson

Last week, I drove for my mom and all of the others who have or are currently battling cancer.

I had the honor of participating in the annual Sibley Burr Oaks Tractor Drive which made the trip up to Fairbury this year. Organizer Russ Tjarks has organized the drive for several years to raise funds and awareness for cancer through the American Cancer Society. We had almost 50 participants on the drive which traveled throughout the rural areas of Ford and Livingston counties. There would have been more drivers on the route if the threat of severe weather wasn’t in the forecast.

Believe it or not, this was actually my first tractor drive as a participant. I have covered these types of events for years as an ag reporter but had never driven in one until last Saturday. Kasen and Kenadee even got in on a little tractor riding time in the countryside on a beautiful day in Central Illinois. You really can enjoy the rural area while only traveling at 10 to 15 miles per hour.

The first Fairbury area stop was at Ziegenhorn Timber just south of town. Steve Ziegenhorn told the story of his family in Fairbury, which formerly owned and operated the Ziegenhorn John Deere dealership. The timber property was used for farm animals which were traded in for farm equipment. There were even a few surplus pieces of dealership equipment stored out there years ago.

While the Fairbury John Deere dealership closed in the early 1990s, the timber remains outside of town and is now used as a campground and local fishing spot with a pond and Indian Creek running through the property.

It was fun to cruise past Fairview Haven Nursing Home while the residents waved from the front door, remembering the tractors of years past. We then drove to downtown Fairbury for a lunch stop at the VFW for a lunch from the ladies and prize drawings. Participants also paused to honor our veterans and those former tractor drive participants who have passed away in the last year.

Following lunch, we fired the tractors back up on Main Street and headed past Dave’s Supermarket on Third Street so customers and employees could wave and grab a few photos before we headed out of town on First Street to the Kilgus Farmstead Country store for a delicious ice cream treat.

This is when I broke off and took a long country tractor ride back home through the timber and over old country bridges. It truly was an unforgettable day and I look forward to my next country tractor drive!


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