NEW CASTLE, Pa. — The fog burned off at the Lawrence County Fairgrounds just in time for the Moraine Area Tractor Cruise to set out on its annual tour of the countryside.
After taking a year off, due to the pandemic, the Moraine Area Tractor Cruisers gathered June 12 and 13, for a two-day tractor cruise through the back roads of Lawrence County.
Rich Christy, of Beaver Falls, co-founded the event in 2006 with his friend, the late Charlie Baird. It was the first, and, as far as they know, only two-day tractor cruise east of the Mississippi River.
Tractor cruises are more common out west, where it’s much flatter. They weren’t sure a cruise would be possible in hilly western Pennsylvania, but they wanted to try it, Christy said. That first year about 30 tractors showed up. They used it as a fundraiser for the Portersville Steam Show.
“It went well, so we kept on going,” he said.
There’s a regular group of friends that participate each year, but they’ve also hosted cruises from Ohio, West Virginia and even Maine over the years.
This year was the 15th cruise. About 30 tractors completed 45 miles on Saturday. There are bathroom breaks and a stop for lunch. The group hauls several porta potties with them on the route. There’s also a couple wagons for people who want to cruise along but don’t have a tractor.
Each year, the cruise goes on a different route, said Les Sawyer, of Ellwood City. He creates the route. This year the group went from the Lawrence County Fairgrounds to West Pittsburg to the Pulaski Flea Market on Saturday. The cruise averages about 8-10 mph.
“We’ve been on about every back road in Lawrence and Mercer County,” he said.
The group then meets up at a hotel for the night. Sunday starts with a church service at 9 a.m., followed by another 25 -mile short cruise.
If you want to join the cruise next year, it’s always held the second weekend in June. Join the “Moraine Area Tractor Cruisers” Facebook group for more information and updates
(Reporter Rachel Wagoner can be contacted at 800-837-3419 or email@example.com.)
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