The sixth annual East Central Benefit Tractor Cruise will be held Saturday, Aug. 23. The organization recently changed its name from Ripon/Green Lake Benefit Tractor Cruise to reflect the broader area supported by the organization.
The cruise will begin at the Jon and Diane Heatley farm, 1133 Dartford Road in Ripon, with registration from 8 to 9 a.m. It departs at 9 a.m., making a midday stop for lunch at Fenner Farm LLC and ending at the Heatley farm around 3:30 p.m. Tractors will be on display while participants and spectators enjoy a chicken barbecue.
The $45 entry fee, along with pledges collected by each driver to sponsor the ride, will be used to help fund local food pantries and public school basic needs funds, which provide necessities for children whose families cannot otherwise afford them. There are many corporate sponsors who support the cause as well.
The entry fee includes lunch and dinner and an annual membership to East Central Benefit Tractor Cruise. Membership includes liability insurance for the tractor cruise.
Participants may choose to drive one of three routes: a long 49.2 mile route for tractors capable of traveling 10.5 miles per hour, a short 33.6 mile route for tractors capable of traveling 6.5 miles per hour or, new this year, a garden tractor route covering approximately 16 miles for garden tractors capable of traveling 6.5 miles per hour.
Those who do not wish to drive a tractor but would like to fully experience the cruise may ride in a hay wagon along the long route. Wagon riders must remit the application along with a $30 entry fee, which includes lunch and dinner.
The East Central Benefit Tractor Cruise is a 501 (c)(3) organization, making all donations tax deductible. The board strives to return funds raised to the communities from which the original donations came. Last year 56 drivers participated in the cruise and raised $33,000.
The public is invited to view the tractors beginning around 3:30 p.m. Tickets for the chicken barbecue, served from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at the Heatley farm are $9 each, which includes a half chicken, baked beans, potato salad, roll and beverage. Tickets may be purchased at the event.
Applications, pledge forms and more information about the sixth annual East Central Benefit Tractor Cruise may be found on the website, www.ripongreenlaketractorcruise.com. Applications and barbecue tickets are also available at Modern Rentals and Pick 'N Save in Ripon, Ted's Piggly Wiggly in Markesan and Berlin Feeds in Berlin.