Iowa Governor and U.S. Ag Secretary Headline 2019 WHO Tractor Ride

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa -- The 23rd annual WHO Tractor Ride came to Council Bluffs for the first time ever. The ride is based at the West Fair Fairgrounds just east of town.

Around 450 tractors are on the ride to enjoy the countryside and drive through the Loess Hills. The first day included stops at the Hitchcock Nature Center near Crescent, and for lunch they stopped in Missouri Valley, before returning to base.

The ride included U.S. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue, who even brought his own tractor. Perdue reminisced visiting the tractor ride, spotting models he drove as a kid.

“I think we found about eight of the ones I drove as a young man going all the way back to the International M and the H model, ‘Perdue told WHO Radio’s Bob Quinn. “That was the first I can remember driving, and then went up to the one I’m going to be driving today, that hydrostatic International 656, I put a number of hours on.”

Also driving a tractor for the first time was Gov. Kim Reynolds.

“I’m a first-timer, so I have ridden a tractor before, it’s just been a long time. We took a practice run last night,” said Reynolds. “My dad worked 40 years at John Deere. We lived in St. Charles, he drove to Ankeny every day, plus he farmed on top of that, so I grew up green.”

Reynolds borrowed the John Deere 1988 4050 belonging to Norm Zahradnik, of Cedar Rapids. Zaradnik road along behind the governor in what’s called a “buddy seat.”

The day was also good for almost everyone there to talk tractors.

“It’s a 1456, 1970, I really like driving it, it's a nice tractor,” said Doug Goode from Ames.

John Nearmeyer, of Reasoner, is a big fan of the 1456 Farmall Tractor.

“That was the last one with this style of engine, and they were a very good engine. If you took any kind of care at all, they hung together,” said Nearmeyer.

For information about the WHO Tractor Ride, click here.

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