CLINTON — Dennis Nolting had waited a long time to see the parade of tractors known as Tractorcade.
“I just wanted to see this parade for years,” Nolting said Monday while looking over a lot full of tractors at Eagle Point Lodge in Clinton.
A native of Preston, Nolting now makes his home in Elizabeth, Illinois. “All I had to do is cross the mighty Mississippi,” he said.
The 2021 WMT Great Eastern Iowa Tractorcade, hosted by WMT NewsRadio of Cedar Rapids, made its base in Bellevue through Wednesday. On Monday, hundreds of tractors left the Jackson County town, traveled through Sabula, stopped for a catered lunch from Rastrelli’s at Eagle Point Park in Clinton and passed through Miles and Preston on their way back to Bellevue.
The event usually draws about 500 tractors, said Andy Kyner, 40, of Carlisle. Kyner doesn’t farm, nor does his dad anymore. But Kyner and his father still enjoy tractors.
Tractorcade is something Kyner does to spend time with his dad, he said. The pair drive in the WMT tractor parade and in another hosted by WHO each year. They also take their tractors to the Midwest Old Threshers Reunion in Mount Pleasant.
Instead of the farm they used to own, Kyner’s family has an acreage. But Kyner and his dad have not downsized as far as equipment goes. “We have bigger barns than we do houses,” said Kyner.
Kyner and his dad restore tractors, mostly John Deere and Farmalls; the Farmalls are better for rides like Monday’s tractor parade, Kyner said.
Kyner would like to restore more tractors, he said. “I only have 21 now.” His wife thinks that’s too many, but Kyner has a different opinion. “We just need a bigger building,” he said.
Billy Rogis, of Clinton, visited with Roger Campbell on Monday at the head of a row of tractors at Eagle Point Lodge. “I’ve got a boy riding a tractor,” Rogis said.
Rogis has been farming land on Iowa 136 since 1965, he said. He doesn’t own new tractors, nor does he own his tractors for show. They’re working tractors that he uses to farm corn and beans.
And they’re red tractors: International Harvester.
The older tractors are fun to look at, Rogis said.
Campbell, of Clinton, doesn’t have farm background, but he drove a truck for Woods Equipment and spent a lot of time with farm implement companies, he said.
“I just like the old stuff,” he said.
Campbell has seen smaller parades with 20 or 30 tractors. Tractorcade is different. “You don’t [usually] see this many at one time,” he said.
Participants come from all over the country for the annual ride, according to WMT.
Monday, the first day of the 2021 ride, was dubbed Down the River and passed Green Island, Miles, Sabula and Preston. Tuesday was called Funky Figure 8 and wound through Pleasant Creek, Spragueville, Andrew, Maquoketa, Delmar, Charlotte and Springbrook.
The final morning, Polygon Day, covered Cottonville, LaMotte and St. Donatus.