Pioneer Power members to ride tractors across Mackinac Bridge
WEST BRANCH — For the second straight year, several members of the Pioneer Power Antique Tractor and Gas Engine Club will travel to the Mackinaw City to participate in the fifth annual Mackinac Bridge Antique Tractor Crossing Sept. 14.
According to Club President Jake Bortle, more than 25 club members are making the trip up north to ride across the “Mighty Mac.”
“It’s exciting to go across the bridge,” Bortle said. “They had more than 800 tractors in last year’s parade and they said they’re going to be just shy of 1,000 this year.”
He said 10 club members made the trip for last year’s parade, which included a record 820 tractors, according to the parade’s official website.
The parade, which is only open to tractor clubs, takes tractors across the bridge, with one lane blocked off for them, and all the way to the Kewadin Shores Casino, five miles north of St. Ignace.
Participants will park their tractors at the casino following the parade, where they’ll get a chance to talk with fellow tractor enthusiasts and enjoy more activities.
The parade route is 18 miles long, and Bortle said it takes anywhere from “three to four hours” to make it to the end.
The participating club members met up at the parking lot of Tractor Supply Company in West Branch Thursday morning, as the TSC is supporting the club’s trip up north.
The parade, which is part of the Owosso Tractor Parts Antique Tractor Show, will begin sometime Friday morning, according to Bortle, and he said it’s hard to know how long it will take to round up close to 1,000 tractors.
“We’ll get there sometime today so we’ll be ready to go Friday morning,” Bortle said before leaving Thursday morning. “You never know how long it will take to get ready, so you just get there in the morning and wait for it to start.”