By DEBORAH BEHRENDS
SANDWICH, Ill. — “We just wanted to try something different,” said DeKalb County farmer Roger Tuttle, of the inaugural tractor run in conjunction with the Sandwich Early Day Engine Club’s 42nd annual show June 30.
A lifelong farmer and antique tractor buff, Tuttle has gone to many other shows and tractor runs, and he enjoys every one. “I just thought this would be a nice addition to the show,” he said.
The 20-mile run left the Sandwich Fairgrounds, where the show is conducted, and traveled through five southern DeKalb County townships before returning to the fairgrounds by noon. Thirty tractors paraded through Somonauk, Sandwich, Victor, Clinton and Squaw Grove townships, stopping at the Somonauk Township building for a brief rest and refreshments.
“We got some rain on Saturday, but the weather was fantastic on Sunday,” Tuttle said.
He mapped the ride and worked out details with the help of committee members Ken Wolf of Oswego and Art Benson of Sandwich. Each of the 30 participants paid $15 and received a commemorative cap for the inaugural event.
Tuttle said most of the tractors participating were built in the 1940s and ‘50s. He drove a 1956 Ford 640I, with which he started farming. He said his son-in-law restored it for him in 1999.
Like most collectors, Tuttle has several tractors, including two 1938 John Deeres, a model G and a model A, “and a couple of others I still farm with,” he said.
“You can never have too many tractors,” he added, with a laugh.
No stranger to organizing tractor-related events, he was the impetus behind the annual springtime tractor blessing at the local Suydam United Methodist Church in Leland.
Tuttle expressed his thanks not only to Somonauk Township for the use of the building as a rest stop, but also to DeKalb County Sheriff Roger Scott. “The sheriff’s deputies helped make the ride a success by being at busy crossings,” he explained.
He said he hopes to continue the ride as part of the annual Early Day show.