tractor cruise

It was a record-setting day Sunday at the Knights of Columbus’ 10th annual Journey for Charity Tractor Cruise.

Not only did 166 tractors turn out for the 30-mile cruise, but the group collected more than 4,000 pounds of food. Both numbers shattered last year’s totals of 133 tractors and 2,500 pounds of food.

“It was an awesome day,” said John Jasper, Tractor Cruise committee member. “It was just an incredible day. We broke all the records from last year.”

Jasper said the money collected is still being counted.

The tractor cruise is held to raise funds and collect food for local pantries. The annual event is organized by the Washington, Union, St. Clair and St. John-Gildehaus Knights of Columbus councils.

This year, the tractors took the 30-mile trek from St. Clair to Union before ending in Washington.

Jasper said the only problem this year was the cruise ran slightly off schedule. He said the parade of tractors was late in reaching Washington — but for a good reason.

The record number of 166 tractors stretched a long way and slowed things down, he said. The large amount of tractors needing to get from Point A to Point B caused the group to be about 45 minutes late, he explained.

There were so many tractors involved this year, Jasper said it took about 20 minutes for the entire group to pass through a point.

“Everything went awesome,” he said. “It was a little scary how everything went so smooth.”

There were no major problems — no flat tires or any mechanical issues.

The day ended at the Knights of Columbus in Washington. A kids pedal tractor pull and barbecue took place and tractors also were on display. Jasper said the barbecue was a big success.

“We served a lot of people,” he said. “We had 325 pork steaks and we ran out.”

Nearly 170 tractors registered for the event and 166 showed up. Jasper said the weather was “perfect” and that might have been a reason for the big crowd.

The cruise also was celebrating its 10th anniversary.

“Everybody was great, everybody was safe and no one got hurt,” he said.

Jasper said the Knights want to thank everyone in Franklin County who helped with the event. He especially recognized the people who may have been stuck in traffic behind the line of tractors.

“We just wanted to thank everyone for being patient and courteous,” he said.