Tractor event across state off schedule this summer

    It’s going to be at least two years before the annual Tractor Drive Across Nebraska passes through Imperial and Wauneta—if even then.
    The drive, scheduled to begin in Lamar and spend overnight in Wauneta, Wallace, North Platte, Arnold, Brewster, Ainsworth, Springview and Valentine June 6-13, became yet another casualty of the coronavirus pandemic.
    And it won’t be rescheduled this year, said Donelle Moormeier, one of its organizers.
    “The problem is we were going into towns,” Moormeier said. “The whole point of the drive is to get money for Operation Comfort Warriors and we like to have the community” participate.
    But with restrictions on how many people could gather at once, “it really put us at a disadvantage that way.”
    Also, she asked, “Do those little towns want us coming in there? Two weeks later, somebody’s got COVID and we get the blame for it. We just made the decision to cancel, like a lot of other people.”
    Rather than just move the event route back a year, organizers are planning to hold next year’s event, the 10th annual relay, in the Scottsbluff area, where it began.
    “We’ll probably do that and (then) revert back” to earlier planned routes, she said. “Last year, we didn’t go all of the route that we were supposed to go because of the flood waters. We’ll probably circle back and try to get those routes after this year.”
    Moormeier said not many people signed up to drive the route this year, even with the signup deadline extended a week to May 8.
    “People were holding on on registering anyway, to see what was going on,” she said.
    Sponsored by the Nebraska Antique Farming Association, the event raises funds for the American Legion’s Operation Comfort Warriors. Moormeier said that program provides veterans with items they cannot get from the government, from toothbrushes for individuals to rehab equipment for facilities.
    Fundraising is done in conjunction with local Legion posts through a meal where free-will donations are taken, Moormeier said. In the last six years, the tractor relay has raised over $40,000 for the program, she said.


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