The Homestead Act of 1862 brought thousands of settlers to central Nebraska, and the vast majority of them turned to agriculture as a means to make a living. Today that is still the major industry in this area, with many farmers and ranchers tracing their roots back to those early pioneers.
Later this month that history and agricultural community will come together for an event that is designed to be both fun and financially beneficial for one local entity. It is the 1st Annual Custer County Tractor Ride - featuring old tractors, with proceeds benefiting Custer Care Center in Broken Bow.
The idea for a tractor ride came from Art Anderson of Westerville, who has participated in a few such events across the state. Anderson thought it might be fun to host a tractor ride in Custer County, and ride for a worthy cause at the same time.
For Anderson suggesting a recipient for the proceeds was easy - both of his parents had been cared for at Custer Care.
Antique tractors are preferred for the approximately 50-mile ride June 28, and all tractors participating should be at least 20-years-old. Registration fee to participate in the tractor ride is $60 if registered before June 18, and $90 if after June 18. Riders can also register the day of the ride, though it is suggested to register early for an accurate head count for lunch.
Riders will meet at the Custer County Fairgrounds at 7 a.m. Saturday morning, June 28, where they will be served breakfast provided by Plains Equipment.
After breakfast everyone will get on their tractors around the fairgrounds and hospital on Memorial Drive, north on the Airport Road to Round Valley Road, and then a day-long country trek.
The riders will stop for a break at around 10 a.m. at the Harold McCaslin farm. They will then continue on through the hills toward Highway 183 and have lunch at the Bill Anderson farm.
The group will stop for an afternoon break around 3 p.m. at the city park in Berwyn, and arrive back at the fairgrounds around 4:30 p.m.
Anyone who has antique tractors but does not plan to take them on the ride, is asked to bring them to the fairgrounds as well. An antique tractor display is planned during the day.
“The whole idea is to see the beautiful country and have a nice, slow ride around the country,” says Barb Cramer, one of the organizers of the tractor ride.
The event is close to Barb’s heart as well, as her father has restored a number of antique tractors over the years. She plans to drive one of them in the tractor ride.
Anyone and everyone is invited to join in this fun ride for a good cause. All participants will receive a commemorative T-shirt and a large personalized magnet to stick on your tractor.
To register for the 1st Annual Custer County Tractor Ride, or for more information on the event, log on to Custer Care’s website at www.custercare.com , or call Jeanette Denson at 308-872-6303.