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Annual tractor ride in Cummington gears up for 30-mile trek

Goshen resident Francis Judd astride his 1952 Farmall tractor, one of 25 tractors he keeps at his farm. He will drive one of  them  in the 6th annual Hillside Agricultural Tractor and Engine Club’s Tractor Ride on May 19. “Any day’s a good day if you can get a tractor ride,” he said.
LAURA RODLEY

Goshen resident Francis Judd astride his 1952 Farmall tractor, one of 25 tractors he keeps at his farm. He will drive one of them in the 6th annual Hillside Agricultural Tractor and Engine Club’s Tractor Ride on May 19. “Any day’s a good day if you can get a tractor ride,” he said. LAURA RODLEY Purchase photo reprints »

The annual Hilltown tractor ride and barbecue on May 19 in Cummington will provide support for the area’s future farmers while honoring those who have come before them.

Proceeds from the 6th annual Hillside Agricultural Tractor and Engine Club’s 30-mile Tractor Ride and Chicken Barbecue will benefit the young members of Hampshire County 4-H Fair and Massachusetts Future Farmers of America, while recognizing five people who died in the last year who had been involved with tractors, farming or both.

This year’s ride, which kicks off at the Cummington Fairgrounds, is in memory of Almond Streeter and Lincoln Howes of Cummington, Walter Beckwith and Junior Fournier of Plainfield and Cliff Clark Sr. of Hawley.

“Almond was one of the original members of the group that started this tractor ride,” said Francis Judd of Goshen, event organizer, speaking at his Route 9 home. “We’re hoping for 50 to 70 tractors,” Judd said. Last year, 47 tractors and drivers participated.

What does Judd enjoy most about the ride? “People have been on these rides who haven’t seen each other for 10 or 12 years,” he said. “Getting out and seeing the country. I’ve been farming myself part time, and it’s good to be out and not be pulling anything. It’s a lot of fun.”

Judd has been driving tractors since he was 6 years old and passed his passion along to his sons, Phillip and Albert Judd, who also live in Goshen. Between the three, they share 25 tractors, all housed at Francis Judd’s farm, which are used for haying and caring for the family’s eight Dutch Belted Galloway cattle.

For the ride, drivers must have a valid driver’s license. Tractors must be in good working order, able to travel at least 12 mph and have a “slow moving” sign. No passengers or trailers are allowed and only one driver is permitted per tractor.

Because last year’s kid’s garden tractor pull was so well received, with more than 10 garden tractors, another is planned this year at 10 a.m. on the same day. Children can just show up at the Cummington Fairgrounds that day with their garden tractors, Judd said.

Adults must register their own tractors by visiting www.cummingtonfair.com, clicking “special events” to download forms, and then sending the filled-out forms to Francis and Linda Judd, 145 Berkshire Trail West, Goshen, MA 01032, or call 268-3264. Pre-registration for the barbecue is required by May 12. The tractor ride plus barbecue costs $30; the ride alone is $25; and the barbecue alone is $20. The fairgrounds open at 6:30 a.m. Registration begins at 7 a.m., with a drivers’ meeting scheduled for 9:15 a.m. Tractors depart, rain or shine, at 9:30 a.m. The barbecue takes place at the fairgrounds following the return of the tractors.

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Running club

A new noncompetitive running club called Hilltown Fast Feet, for Hilltown children in kindergarten through Grade 6, begins at New Hingham Regional Elementary School in Chesterfield on Friday afternoons, starting this Friday and running through June 14. The club will take place from 3:15 to 4:15 p.m. The deadline for signing up was Monday, but organizer Tina Cornell of Chesterfield is still accepting sign-ups.

“I would love to see a huge running club in our area,” she said.

Sponsored by the Chesterfield Recreation Committee, the club costs $35, which includes a family-oriented Sunday afternoon run for both parents and kids. The time for that run has not been set.

“It’s a fun way to get parents involved in running,” Cornell said. So far, 15 children have signed up for the club, which includes trail running for older kids, and running-oriented games for younger kids. “Nothing too strenuous for the little ones,” she said.

An immediate goal is to have everyone enter the Obstacles and Popsicles Kids Race on May 5 in Dalton.

The Hingham school is located on 30 Smith Road. For information, visits www.chesterfieldrec.com or call 296-0321.

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Scout awards

The members of Goshen’s Girl Scout Troop 40425 aim to earn Bronze Awards by helping animals in shelters. To that end, they are seeking donations of money and items that can be dropped off through the end of the month in the collection box at the main office at the New Hingham Regional Elementary School in Chesterfield. The money will go to a local animal shelter. Requested items are dry dog and cat food, scoopable cat litter, treats, cat toys, Kong rubber toys, dog bones, dish soap, bleach and paper towels. Make checks payable to GSCWM Troop 40425.

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Pizza party

Everyone is invited to this week’s Friday Night Café Pizza Party from 7 to 9 p.m. at Cummington Village Congregational Church on Main Street in Cummington. Musicians Marc Fromm of Shelburne Falls and Andrew Kinsey of Ashfield will perform. Bring your favorite toppings to make pizza; pizza crust will be provided. If you need a ride to attend, call 634-5320. For information, call Pat Keith at 634-5084.

Laura Rodley can be reached at lrodley.gazette@gmail.com.

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