Monday, January 29, 2007

The millionaires ride around Iowa




Well, the buzz around the South of Iowa is the unveiling of the route for the 2007 WHO Great Iowa Tractor Ride on Friday at the Machine Shed in Des Moines.

A good number of local farmers, both active and retired, take part in this annual ride. Drivers would drive their tractors (both antique and newer) from town to town, staying the night, for 4 nights. This is not RAGBRAI, folks; most riders bring campers or stay in motels. The "camp" is pretty much quiet by 7 PM every night. No wild parties take place, but maybe a shouting match or two over Deere vs Farmalls...just kidding.

This year the ride will be based at Osceola, with four single day "excursions" out to various towns surrounding Osceola. This will include Humeston, fortunately. The daily ride will start and end in Osceola each day, making it easier for riders and their support teams to find and maintain lodging. I'm guessing Terrible's casino ("the boat") will be visited by more than a few wives of tractor drivers during this time.

Why do I call this the millionaires ride? Figure this: With the recent rise in land value in the midwest and especially Iowa, a farmer who has 320 acres or a 1/2 section of land paid for is worth at least $1 million ($3500/acre in NC or Eastern Iowa). Of course, not all riders are millionaires or even landowners. It would be interesting to compare the net worth of RAGBRAI riders vs Great Iowa Tractor Ride riders... Some of RAGBRAI riders' bikes might be worth as much at the tractors.

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