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Tuesday...Temperatures will range from a high of 18 to a low of 16 degrees with partly cloudy skies. Winds will range between 4 and 7 miles per hour from the south. No precipitation is expected.
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Curt Pernat, Ixonia gives Tom Tripplet, Watertown, final instructions before they began their five mile trek with their antique tractors across the Mackinac Bridge. Joining them from the Ixonia Vintage Tractor club and driving tractors in the 950-tractor parade across the bridge were other tractor enthusiasts Red Walters, Gary Skalitzky and Pernat’s wife Mary and sons John and Luke.

Curt Pernat, Ixonia gives Tom Tripplet, Watertown, final instructions before they began their five mile trek with their antique tractors across the Mackinac Bridge. Joining them from the Ixonia Vintage Tractor club and driving tractors in the 950-tractor parade across the bridge were other tractor enthusiasts Red Walters, Gary Skalitzky and Pernat’s wife Mary and sons John and Luke. Photo By Gloria Hafemeister

Over 950 antique tractors cross Macinac Bridge

Oct. 2, 2012 | 0 comments

MACKINAW CITY

More than 950 antique tractors crossed the Mackinac Bridge recently in the 5th annual Mackinac Bridge antique tractor crossing from Mackinaw City.

According to Curt Pernat, Ixonia, who was a part of the big event, the tractors travel approximately 18 miles in 3.5 hours during the event, to a common destination five miles north of St. Ignace.

Pernat and others from southeastern Wisconsin, including his wife, Mary and sons John and Luke, Tom Tripplett and Red Walters of Watertown and Gary Skalitzky of Waterloo drove antique tractors representing the Ixonia Vintage Tractor Club.

The Mackinac Bridge opened in November, 1957 to span the straights of Mackinac and connect Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with the lower mitten.

The Mackinac Bridge is five miles in length and towers are 500 feet tall, almost as tall as the Arch in St. Louis, MO. The bridge is 200 feet at mid-span above the water.

The gradual grade will fool drives until they get to the center and look down below at a ship and see how small the crew looks.

Millions of vehicles cross the bridge every year but it wasn’t until 2007 when the Mackinac Bridge Authority authorized Owosso Tractor parts to form a parade of tractors over the bridge.

The first year there were 614 tractors participating in the event and the number of tractors increased each year since with nearly 40 tractor clubs participating from eight states and Canada.

Many of the tractor owners brought their tractors several hundred miles to participate.

The staging area following the parade was at the Kewadin Shores Casino where the public had an opportunity to view the collection of tractors for two days.

The event begins with a city parade in Mackinaw City.

Pernat says the local group has attended the event in the past but this is the first year they took their tractors. They plan to go again next year, perhaps adding even more tractors from the area.

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