Go CAPOOT ride celebrates 17th year
This year’s Go CAPOOT (Collins Area People On Old Tractors) ride participants traveled under cloud cover most of Sunday afternoon during the 17th annual event which took participants to northern Story County and the McCallsburg area.
Despite a dry ride for most of the way, as participants on the faster tractors rolled into Collins at suppertime, the rain was coming down pretty good.
“We didn’t get wet until the very end,” said CAPOOT organizer Dave Struthers of Collins. In fact, some of the slower tractor drivers, who came in about 40 minutes after the first group, said they didn’t come into as much rain on their trek.
“We got sprinkled on a bit,” said one of the last riders into town.
Struthers said he had about 32 tractor drivers signed up this year, but participation was down from years past and he thought that was likely because of the uncertain forecast.
Still, it was a worthwhile event for those who came. Struthers said the event still draws interest and this year two guys from New Sharon joined in, probably traveling the furthest of all the riders involved.
For those who don’t recall, Go CAPOOT started in 2003 and was Struthers’ dad’s (Don Struthers) idea. “He came up with the acronym and wanted to use the money raised for the community center in Collins,” Dave said. People enjoyed it so much that they wanted the ride to continue, and so it became the younger Struthers’ undertaking. “After that first year, [dad] said, ‘Dave can do it.’ And so, I have.”
Dave Struthers said he gets great support from area businesses. “I appreciate all the businesses that I approach that are willing to donate door prizes for the participants,” he said. Those businesses are located in many of the communities surrounding Collins.
Struthers said the money raised each year by entry fees and a free-will offering for the meal all goes back to whichever benefactor organization volunteers to serve a snack at the ride’s break point and a meal for riders and members of the public when everyone returns to Collins. Groups that have volunteered to do that over the years have included youth groups from churches and the local school, friends of the library and mission groups, firefighters. This year’s benefactor was the Collins-Maxwell FFA.
“They get all the money that comes in, making this truly something that gives back to the community,” Struthers said.
Struthers wanted to thank a couple of the people who help him make the ride happen: Mike Hofer and Arnie Huntrods alternate in leading the slower tractors each year. Arnie’s wife, Corie, helps with registration.
As for why the ride continues to be a popular activity, Struthers said it comes down to camaraderie, relationships and friendships that exist and are made between those who take part. “It’s also a really nice way to see the countryside while sitting up high on a tractor,” he said. “The beauty of Iowa’s countryside never ceases to amaze me. I hope to keep the ride going for years to come.”