The 12th annual tractor cruise is stepping into high gear this week.

The Knights of Columbus’ Journey for Charity Tractor Cruise is scheduled for this Sunday, Sept. 8. The annual event raises funds and collects food for local food pantries.

John Jasper, event organizer with the Union Knights of Columbus, said people can still register tractors for the event. There are over 100 entries so far. To register, call 314-581-6968 or johnjasper53@outlook.com.

The event has expanded over the years. In 2008, its first year, the cruise had 67 tractors and raised $10,000.

Last year’s event had 157 riders and raised $32,000 for local food pantries.

Jasper said that in 2012, the tractor cruise was recognized at both the state and international levels by the Knights of Columbus.

“There are a lot of folks who really make this thing happen from all over the place,” he said. “It’s definitely a big community project. They step up, enjoy the day and it benefits everyone.”

Jasper said the event was created when he and a few other members wanted to participate in a tractor cruise.

“We always watched the tractor cruises on TV and we were sitting at the KC Hall bar one evening talking about it,”he said. “We said we needed to participate in one of the cruises. We checked it out and the closest one was St. Joseph, Mo. That was really out of reach.”

So they started their own.

“It really fell together. I said, ‘Well, if we’re going to have one, let’s do it for a reason,’ ” Jasper said. “Back in 2008, the economy was going down the tubes with everyone losing their jobs. The food pantries were stressed out, so we raised some money for the food pantries.”

That first year, the cruise was held when a hurricane made shore and its storms came through the area.

“It was a Sunday,” Jasper said. “It was raining inches. The wind was blowing. We had this thing scheduled. We had the city park rented out. We had 200 pork steaks made. The state patrol was lined up. We told everyone it was rain or shine.”

After the priest came and blessed the fleet, the weather calmed down, he said.

“The sun came out,” he said. “We took off. It was pretty neat.”

Schedule

The tractors will be staged and should begin taking off for both the north route in Warren County and the south route in Franklin County at 10:45 a.m. Sunday.

The tractors from the south route will arrive in Union a little after noon, where they will break for about 30 minutes. The cruise through Union is scheduled to start at 12:30 p.m. The tractors will start their cruise through Washington at 1:45 p.m.

The final stop will be at the Washington Knights of Columbus grounds, scheduled for 2:30 p.m.

At the same time, the north route’s cruise will be heading to Washington for both routes to finish at the KC Hall in Washington.

The north route, which is new this year, should be in Dutzow by 12:15 p.m. It will then move to Augusta by 12:50 p.m. It will then meet with the south route at Mercy Hospital by 1:45 p.m.

From 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. a tractor show and barbecue are scheduled at the Washington Knights of Columbus. A kids pedal tractor pull, food and tractors will be on-site.

Donations will be collected on-site as well.

Routes

For the south route, the parade will begin at Ozark Die Casting and will turn onto Route TT. The tractors will proceed on Commercial Avenue, Main Street, Springfield Avenue, Gravois Road, Highway 30 overpass of Interstate 44, North Service Road, Highway AB and Happy Sac Road.

The route then follows Route AD, North Bend Road, Clearview Road and Highway 50 West. Tractors will stop at the Union Knights of Columbus Hall until about 12:30 p.m.

From there, the tractors will head west to Independence, then travel on Old Highway 50 to West Main Street. Tractors will take a right on West Main back toward Independence then head north to West Park Road. Tractors will circle around the Sunset Health Care Center then head back to Park Street toward North Washington Avenue.

Tractors will travel on North Washington to East Independence, then cross over 47 and head to Highway V, Clearview Road, Bethlehem Church Road, North Goodes Mill Road to South Point Road.

The tractors will then travel on Highway 100 to West Fifth Street,  go right on Cedar Street, left on Main Street, right on Olive Street, to Front Street, and take Tiemann Drive to North Park Drive, Grand Avenue, Fifth Street, and will follow Clay Street back to the KC Hall in Washington, where the route ends at the Washington KC Hall.

At the same time, the north route will travel to different locations before converging with the south route at Mercy Hospital in Washington.

The north parade starts at St. Ignatius in Concord Hill. It will turn left on Mill Road and connect to Concord Hill Road. The route will then follow eastbound Highway 94 to Highway 47. It will turn right on Pecan Street and continue west to South Street then cross 1st Street. It will turn left onto South 2nd Street at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Marthasville. 

From there is will take its next leg to St. Vincent de Paul in Dutzow. The route will turn right on Highway D and take Boone Monument Road, Loop Road, Bluff Road into Dutzow.

The parade will then head to Immaculate Conception in Augusta

It will then turn left to head eastbound on Highway 94 to Church Street.

The route then heads from Augusta to Mercy Hospital Washington. It heads to Hackmann Road, turns right on Walnut Street then heads to Jackson Street. It goes from High Street to Augusta Bottom Road to Highway 47 before ending on Third Street in Washington.

Both routes converge to finish at the KC Hall in Washington.