Love of farm vehicles drives Port resident to hold another procession Saturday
Ken Jentges has always loved tractors, and this weekend he’s taking his passion for these workhorses to the streets.
For the second consecutive year, Jentges is leading a group of antique tractors as they cruise through northern Ozaukee County, creating a makeshift parade.
“This is just a day for the guys to get on their tractors and take a ride,” his wife Jackie said. “It’s like guys who have Harleys — they just love to get out and ride.”
While last year’s event traversed the far north end of the county, this Saturday’s parade will be concentrated largely in the Port Washington area, Jackie Jentges said.
It will kick off at 10 a.m. at Jentges’ home on Highway B in the Town of Port Washington, then take Highway LL east to Wisconsin Street.
The tractors are hoping to gain a police escort, then head to Upper Lake Park and circle the bluff before leaving the city and stopping at the Escape Bar in the Town of Port Washington before heading back to the Jentges house.
Ken Jentges was busy working on three of his Case tractors Monday, getting them into tiptop shape for the parade, early this week. He will drive one in the parade, while his stepson Jim Hall and son-in-law Dan Uelmen will drive the others.
It’s an invite-only affair, Jackie Jentges said, adding many of those taking part met and continue to participate in tractor shows, comparing their big machines and reminiscing about the days when the rigs were the workhorses on the farm.
Last year, roughly 25 tractors took the trek. The group — which hailed from Sturgeon Bay, Allenton, Random Lake, Silver Creek and the Port area — turned heads and drew attention as they traveled around.
“When they crossed over I-43 at Holy Cross, people were honking their horns at them,” Jackie Jentges said. “As they crossed Highway LL, traffic stopped.”
One man even got out of his car to salute the colorful, patriotic red, white and blue, star-spangled Spirit of ’76 tractor her husband drove, she said.
This year, 30 to 40 tractors are expected to take part in the parade.
Tractors are in Jentges’ blood, his wife explained. He grew up on his family’s farm just down the road from his current home — his brother Gary, who runs the farm now, is the fifth generation to do so.
Jentges began collecting tractors when he was young. Now 53, he has about eight of the vehicles.
He only collects Case tractors, his wife noted.
“They always used Case tractors on the farm,” she said.
Her husband would prefer all those in the parade drive Cases, she noted, but he allows a few friends who drive other brands to participate.
The parade has its roots in a similar venture a friend of Jentges’ used to hold near Elkhart Lake each fall. Last year, his friend couldn’t hold the event so Jentges decided to hold his own in Ozaukee County.
His friends loved it, especially when they got to enjoy the lake views, his wife said.
“It’s just a fun day,” she said.
Image Information: KEN JENTGES proudly showed off the Case 1570 Spirit of ’76 tractor he refurbished, one of three tractors he and his family will showcase during a cruising event he’s holding in the city and town of Port Washington on Saturday, July 6. Between 30 and 40 tractors are expected for the invite-only event. Photo by Sam Arendt