Tractor drive raises funds for cancer research

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Farm Forum

The John Deere Model JD 60 was spiffed up to lead the “Help Drive Out Cancer” parade of restored antique tractors on Saturday, June 14.

Starting at 9:30 a.m. from the Brown County Fairgrounds, Craig Speich’s machine led the way to Wylie Park then to Mina and back to the fairgrounds. Although rain threatened, the entourage made it back before the clouds opened up with a downpour.

The fundraising effort by the James Valley Twin Cylinder Club is in support of cancer research. Speich says the funds raised this year will go towards the new cancer center in Aberdeen. By Tuesday, that amount was $740.

Speich, 57, lives in Groton and led the machines down the road at 10 to 12 mph. They took a break at Wakeside Resort at Mina before heading back to the Brown County Fairgrounds and a donated dinner of beans and brats.

Of his tractor, Speich says, “I restored it, it’s not real classy but real nice and green. I put a lot of work into fixing it up.”

The effort is a personal one as cancer impacts many. “I had a niece, my godchild, die of cancer at the age of 33, and it really tripped the trigger to get me to do something,” Speich said. “I also lost a mother-in-law and an uncle. Many others have been affected in the same way.”

A $35 fee was charged to drivers, who were encouraged to gather sponsors.

Speich said getting the tractor ready for the event was the easy part. The hard part is asking people and businesses to provide help. “There are some great people out there who have donated and volunteered to help.”

The group would like to thank the following for donations and support: K-Mart, Dakota Broadcasting, Menards, Quality Quick Print, Ken’s Food in Groton, Brown County Fairgrounds, Aspire, Wylie Park, Wakeside, Wells Fargo Bank, James Valley Communications, and Dairy Queen of Groton.

Some club members brought more than one tractor, Speich said. “We have a good time driving them. I think 90 percent of the tractors in the parade were manufactured from 1940 to 1960. Before that, the machines were pretty slow moving. “

The oldest tractor in the parade was driven by Richard Anderson of Claremont

If people care to donate, they can drop funds off at any Wells Fargo bank for the “Help Drive out Cancer” Fund. The group hopes to make it an annual event.

If you have questions, call 701-680-0612.