Taking a trek by tractor 0
By Steven Sukkau
Who says you can't teach an old tractor new tricks?
The fifth annual Tractor Trek gives new life to tractors which have long since outlived their days on the field, and they will help raise money for the Eden Foundation July 21 as they trek throughout southern Manitoba.
Event co-ordinator Linda Driedger said the goal is to raise $1,000 from each of the estimated 40 tractors expected to join the trek.
"When we receive evaluations back," Driedger said, "the most common thread is that drivers enjoyed the socializing with the other drivers, driving their tractor, enjoying life at a slower pace. And while doing this they were also supporting a very worthy cause."
Funds will go towards Eden's mental health recovery programs that are only partially or not funded by the government.
These include the Supportive Housing Program, Recovery of Hope and Mennonite Addictions Counseling Services as well as the Segue employment program, and their costs can quickly add up, Driedger said.
"Of the 144 clients that came through this program last year, half required a job coach at a cost of $300 per client," said Driedger.
The community support of the trek has been amazing, Driedger said, adding people often stake out a spot along the road and wait for the tractor parade.
One year each trekker received a bottle of water from a family as they passed by their farm.
Business sponsorship has also made the event a success, with almost half of all money raised to sponsor the trekkers coming from local businesses.
Maintaining an average speed of 8 to 10 mph, the trekkers tackle a 40 km route through the countryside and villages of Reinland, Rosengart, Neuhorst, Rosetown, Kronsthal, Blumenort and complete the trek in Gretna.
The event begins at 7:30 a.m in Reinland with registration and breakfast before opening ceremonies at 10 a.m. Lunch for the trekkers is courtesy of the Blumenort Mennonite Church in Rosetown.
A tractor show and shine will take place at MCI in Gretna followed by a windup supper.
The day caps off with a free concert in partnership with the Gretna Hotspot Festival featuring Ed Penner and the North Border Band along with Elvis tribute artist Corny Rempel.