Tractors invade Southern Hills seventh time
Published: Thursday, August 30th, 2012
Bikers may have left the Southern Hills, but that doesn’t mean the roads are any less traveled. Around 90 tractors flooded Highway 16A and visited popular spots, such as Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial and Custer State Park.
“It’s their vacation,” said Carol Parrish, travel coordinator for the tractor run. “It’s not a race. They’re here to enjoy themselves and see the sights.”
The tractor run started Wednesday, Aug. 22, and will ended Friday, Aug. 24. Tractor enthusiasts come from across the nation. This year’s run had participants from Iowa, South Dakota, Mississippi, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Kentucky, Texas, Ohio and Arizona.
“I don’t charge for the run,” Parrish said. “I figure with the costs they have for getting here, paying for food and gas, it’s not right. It’s their vacation and I can’t charge for that.”
The group has taken routes on Iron Mountain and Plum Creek roads, traveled the popular routes of Highways 244, 16A and 89 and even driven around the granite spires and pigtail bridges.
“This is the first time some have experienced hills,” Parrish said. “No one’s worried about the hills or turns. We’ve never had an accident on any of the runs.”
This is the seventh tractor run, which is held every two years and based out of Custer. The run draws tractor enthusiasts from all walks of life: retirees, children and young adults.
“The historical places are a real perk for the retired farmers and vintage tractor collectors, but lately more families have joined in,” Parrish said. “With the ever growing number of participants, we’ve had more double tractors for families to sit in the back.”
Numbers of participants have nearly doubled each year. There were 14 tractors in 2003, the run’s first year, and the past couple of runs have had around 84 tractors.
“Riders must be 16, have a legal driver license and really know their engine,” Parrish said.
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