THE STEAM RAILROADING INSTITUTE (SRI) in downtown Owosso hosted Trains & Tractors on Saturday, Aug. 28. Several members of the Heart of Michigan Antique Tractor Club, shown sitting in the shade on the hot day, participated in the event, driving their beloved, restored tractors into Owosso after meeting at the Bennington Township Hall in the morning. Ron Force (2nd from right), chairperson of the group, shared he believed the club had around 10 antique tractors on site for people to enjoy.
Trains & Tractors is an event intended to celebrate vintage equipment, highlighting Michigan’s agricultural roots. SRI grounds were open to the public for the day.
SRI Executive Director Kim Springsdorf (not shown) explained that the event had started five years ago, but was not held in 2020 because of the pandemic. She offered that the 2021 event was uniquely sentimental because Jeff Ash, an organizing member of the Heart of Michigan Antique Tractor Club, had died last October and she felt the event was a nice memorial to his previous effort in assisting with Trains & Tractors.
“He helped start all of this,” Springsdorf stated. “He was amazing to work with. This club is amazing to work with. We’re happy to have them back.”
SRI will be holding a rail safety event on Saturday, Sept. 25. Springsdorf shared that recent events held on site have brought in people from California, Texas and Chicago – eager to see the iconic Pere Marquette 1225 and understand steam era railroading, railroad history and safety. The large educational component at SRI along with the nostalgia of steam engines is a huge draw for enthusiasts throughout the year.