Take a spin at the Rock River Thresheree
If you go
What: Rock River Thresheree
When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Monday.
Where: Threshermen’s Park 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. Children 5 years old and younger get in free. Donate a non-perishable food item and get $1 off an adult admission. Parking is free.
For more information: www.thresheree.org.
FULTON TOWNSHIP An hour Friday afternoon at the Rock River Thresheree pointed out a small flaw in The Janesville Gazette’s agricultural coverage.
The Gazette’s ag reporter doesn’t know how to drive a tractor.
The chance to drive a tractor is new to the 54th annual event at Threshermen’s Park on Highway 51 between Janesville and Edgerton. City folks like me can choose between driving two tractors or a riding lawn mower.
With a little supervision, newbies can putter around an enclosed track. The event is free, although donations are accepted.
Tractor drives take place from 8 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. through Monday. Pictures and T-shirts are available for $3 to $16, depending on the size and combination you choose.
The yellow T-shirts read, “I Drove my First Tractor at the Rock River Thresheree.”
Event organizer Ken Henningsen of Albany handed out little green buttons with the same slogan. Henningsen kindly gave me a button, even though it wasn’t exactly my first time driving a tractor.
You wouldn’t have known it by watching me.
Henningsen got me settled onto the John Deere 60. He turned the key and showed me how to start the tractor with a foot pedal.
Then he showed me how to put my foot on the brake. Henningsen, who’s been a Thresheree member since 1999, shifted the tractor into gear and pushed in the throttle.
Off we went like a turtle. I was grinning as if I was driving my first car.
About halfway around the enclosed track, Henningsen said, politely, “Oh, and you might want to take your foot off the brake.”
Ooops. Kind of embarrassing for a kid who practically grew up on her grandparents’ dairy farm in Walworth County.
Jacob Niemuth of Whitewater was kind enough to compliment me after my ride. He had already taken a spin on the lawn tractor to show me how easy it was.
He certainly made it look easy. His mom, Lori Niemuth, said Jacob’s job was to mow the family’s two-acre lawn before he was allowed to come to the Thresheree.
Jacob, 12, was full of suggestions for Thresheree first-timers.
Of course, the Threshermen’s Park grounds are full of tractors of all shapes and colors as well as smoke-belching steam engines, threshing machines and antique trucks.
People who prefer quieter entertainment can enjoy a flea market and craft show.
Jacob suggests the train ride.
“It’s lots and lots of fun,” Jacob said of the four-day Thresheree. “You could almost say it’s an amusement park.”