HOULKA – Gerald Young plowed mules as a boy. That’s why he loves tractors so much.
“My daddy bought a tractor in 1964 and it changed my life,” said Young. “Tractors didn’t make farming fun, but they sure make it a lot easier.”
Young was one of more than a dozen antique tractor enthusiasist who gathered just off Highway 15 near Houlka for the Calhoun County Antique Tractor Club ride Saturday morning.
This was the club’s first ride and seven tractors showed up with the majority coming from the area, but tractors also coming from Iuka and Corinth. The club started at the intersection of Highway 15 and 32 and motored 30 miles. They had lunch at Davis Lake and drew a crowd when they pulled into the park at noon.
“We drive a while and then stop and visit,” said Mary Tutor, of the Calhoun County Antique Tractor Club. “The only thing we like to do more than fix up old tractor and ride them is talk about them.”
Saturday’s ride took the procession east on Highway 32, north on Redland Road and then to Beagle Dog Road in Pontotoc County. A short jaunt down the Natchez Trace and a right on Highway 32 brought them to Davis Lake. The crew took a couple of twists and turns in the Tombigbee National Forest before heading back to the intersection near Houlka.
Tutor said the club follows a carefully chosen path that is both scenic and safe.
As with all tractors on public roads, safety lights, orange plaquards and road rules are followed closely.
“We pull wagons and always urge people who don’t own a tractor and who just want a pretty morning in the sun to come ride with us,” said Tutor. “We are a family club and we always have children and grandparents riding with us.”
Saturday’s ride finished up about 3 p.m.
The Calhoun County Antique Tractor Club started in October 2012 and now has 18 members ranging in age from 4 to 80-years-old.
“Our club can help you restore a tractor and your tractor doesn’t have to be fancy,” said Tutor. “If you grew up on a farm or in the city, it doesn’t make a difference, we just ask you to come ride with us and we know you’ll like it.”
Calhoun County Antique Tractor Club meets the second Monday each month at 7 p.m. At the Sweet Potato Festival Building in Vardaman. For information, call President Danny Tutor at 682-7594.
The club is planning a ride for later this summer.
The Calhoun County Antique Tractor Club is a regular the Houston Flywheel Festival and is probably best known for their show at the Vardaman Sweet Potato Festival each November.
Roger Foster, a Calhoun County Antique Tractor Club member said he has ridden his tractor in 10 states and as far away as South Dakota.
“Riding a tractor is relaxing and the people you meet are the most fun,” said Foster. “We never go on one of these rides that we don’t have a good time and make new friends.”
Tutor said her family still uses their antique tractor to haul wood, plow the garden in the spring and do those odd jobs for family and friends in her community.
“You can help people with a tractor,” said Tutor. “Someone with a little skill can get a lot done quick.
“And you just see the world differently riding on a tractor,” she added. “We bring back a lot of good memories for older members and we make a lot of good memories for younger members.”