Share |

Gentlemen, Crank Your Engines

Jul 8, 2011

Members of the Tri-State Old Iron Association showed their patriotism yesterday at Yankton's Paddlewheel Park. Photo by Dave Tunge.


Today is the kick-off of the Tri-State Old Iron Association's annual ride. Yesterday, Yankton aerial photographer Dave Tunge shot this patriotic photo from his Piper Cub.

The annual ride may be the slowest procession on wheels, paling speed-wise to South Dakota's more famous Harley and Corvette rallies. But antique tractor parades are becoming a summertime tradition in South Dakota, and the granddaddy of them all is the Tri-State Old Iron Associations annual ride on the second weekend of July. 

The tractor-lovers gather in Paddlewheel Park near the Missouri River shores in east Yankton. Over the weekend, they embark on two long rides — on in Nebraska and the other in South Dakota. Tractors must be able to cruise at 12 miles per hour to qualify. "Remember, it's a ride, not a race," reminds the leader in striped overalls and a seed corn cap. 

Many of the tractor owners are current or retired farmers who, as kids, probably grumbled about having to steer the tractor once around the North Forty. Now they ride all day just for fun. Some tractors are equipped with an extra seat for the wife or girlfriend. One enterprising fellow rigged a cushy sofa to his three-point hitch so "the missus" could ride along in style. 

A few tractors appear as if they just came from the cornfield, but most look better than the day they left the factory, ablaze with the bright colors used years ago by manufacturers to differentiate their brands. In the evenings everyone is welcome to browse the tractors at Paddlewheel Point, where more than 200 will be parked in neat rows. The public can also see and hear the tractors at 6 o'clock Friday night when they parade through historic downtown Yankton. 

To stay abreast of the Tri-State Old Iron Association's activities, follow the website of WNAX Radio, a pioneering farm radio station that went on the air in Yankton in 1922 after getting a license from President Herbert Hoover. WNAX is a major sponsor of the tractor ride. 


08:29 am - Fri, July 8 2011
Rebecca Johnson said:
I'm not even a "farm girl" but I love to see the old tractors. This is a fun event.
03:51 pm - Sun, September 11 2011
susan roberts said:
please is there an tractor ride this month September?
08:37 am - Mon, September 12 2011
Heidi Marsh said:
Hi Susan,
I have not heard of a tractor ride this month, but you can contact the Tri-State Old Iron Association. Call Rodger Harts at 605-665-9785. WNAX is also a big part of this ride. You can call the station at 605-665-7442. I hope that helps!
05:47 pm - Sun, December 31 2017
john meier said:
I am interested in information about a Tractor Drive in South Dakota during 2018. Please point me in the direction of information. Call me at 314 -608-4212 or email me at

Share your thoughts, post a comment to this story:

Your Name:
Your Email Address:  
Your Website:
2000 characters remaining
Web Design by Buildable