Get behind the wheel at Rock River Thresheree
If you go
What: Rock River Thresheree
When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday to Monday.
Where: Rock River Thresheree grounds on Highway 51 between Janesville and Edgerton. Follow the signs and enter the grounds on County M.
Cost: Admission is $6 for adults, $1 for children ages 6 to 12 years old, and children 5 years old and younger get in free. On Friday, senior citizens get $1 off the adult admission price.
Donate a non-perishable food item and get $1 off an adult admission.
Parking is free.
EDGERTON Most of us city folks have had tractor-driving fantasies.
There's something about a tractors that says "competence," "independence" and "American ingenuity." If we could drive a tractor, maybe some of that would rub off.
It's a seductive picture, but most of us probably would end up overturning the tractor in a way that says "incompetence," "co-dependence" and "stupidity."
At this weekend's Rock River Thresheree, city folks can indulge those fantasies—up to a point. The Thresheree runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday to Monday, and tractor-driving opportunities will be from 9 to 11 a.m. and from 2 to 4 p.m.
Visitors will get to drive a tractor around an enclosed area with a Thresheree volunteer with them. Then they can have their picture taken on the tractor.
Our city folk dreams have come true.
Thresheree organizers try to give loyal visitors something new every year, Thresheree President Jim Blank said.
Last year, for example, the Thresheree set a record for the most threshing machines running at the same time. First they set a record with 29 steam-powered engines, and then they set a record with 29 gas-powered engines.
Organizers usually feature a particular brand of tractor, but this year the theme is "Oddballs and Orphans," Blank said.
Visitors can expect to see tractor brands they've never heard of such as General, Huber, Gray, Doall, Gibson, Empire, Avery, Silver King and Cock Shutt.
"Really, most tractors—except for John Deeres—are orphans, now," Blank said.
Many of the companies went out of business during the Depression, were soaked up in mergers or just plain went out of business.
But tractor aficionados all over the country have kept those old names running in tip-top shape.
Along with unusual brands, the show will also include high-crop tractors, tractors for orchards and vineyards and other specialized tractors.
Then, check out the real oddballs: Tractors made from Model T's, with Jeep parts or with Chrysler engines.
And if that's not enough, visitors also can participate in a tug-of-war with a strange opponent—a traction engine.
Here's another big change this year: The parade of power—the endless line of tractors traveling through the natural amphitheatre—has been changed from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Many Thresheree visitors plan their day around this sacred event, so take note and arrive early to get a good seat.