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Tractors to parade down 36 mile memory lane

Rod Eldevik collects vintage red International Harvester tractors along with his new interest- vintage IH milking equipment. (Alexis Habberstad | Echo Press)

It turns out memory lane is just about 36 miles long.

The Pioneer Power Club, a vintage tractor club based in Douglas County, will celebrate its 25th birthday on Saturday, July 15, with a 36-mile tractor ride for the public and tractor lovers alike.

Officially created in 1992 by fewer than a dozen close buddies and some tractors as old as the early thirties, the club has grown from its humble beginning into a state-recognized non-profit organization with about 75 members that serves several neighboring counties.

"It started out with a bunch of us sitting around a table talking about tractors, and we just decided to form a club," said club "secretary since conception" Rod Eldevik. "We felt there was a need for an organization for people to meet with a common interest in old tractors."

Now 25 years later, the club continues to meet every fourth Monday of the month and travel throughout the Midwest to attend various events.

"A lot of parades ask us to participate and various threshing shows ask us to participate," he said.

But on Saturday, the club is inviting the public to attend their own event.

The 25th anniversary event will be kicked off at La Grande Town Hall west of Alexandria at 9 a.m. sharp. From there, attendees will embark on a 23-mile scenic tractor ride to the Leaf Valley Mercantile for a cookout lunch. "People-mover" wagons will carry members of the general public for the ride, and those who wish to drive their own tractor may do so with no registration required. Eldevik requires anybody who wants to drive their own tractor to be at least 16 years old and have a tractor at least 30 years old.

For $10, attendees can get a meal of pulled pork sandwiches, beans, chips, bars, and lemonade. After the 13-mile trek back to the starting point, event-goers are invited to partake in "cake, coffee, and reminiscing" at the town hall amid vintage displays. Organizers will also sell raffle tickets for the upcoming September giveaway of a vintage Case tractor. Tickets will be sold for 6 for $5 and the proceeds from the raffle will support club activities and area threshing shows.

The club hopes this special event will mean just as much to attendees as it does to its members.

"The club creates a network for finding equipment, parts, and people who do certain repairs," said Eldevik. "Your interests also grow into other things."

To inquire about membership, raffle tickets or further questions, Rob Eldevik can be reached by calling 320-763-7566.