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Field Days celebrates 25 years this weekend

Jim Wright (in red) and his grandchildren make preparations for the Antique Tractor & Engine Club Field Days to be held this coming weekend. (Nicole Vik/Enterprise)

After nine years as the Park Rapids Antique Tractor & Engine Club president, Jim Wright will be stepping down following this year's 25th Annual Field Days on Aug. 5-6.

"I've been with the club about 20 years, I was vice president for years, I've been on the board, I've been cook," Jim said, adding he's participated in just about every aspect of the club. "And now I've got my grandkids involved."

Jim, who was born and raised on a farm, explained he made the decision to step down in an effort to get younger generations more involved in the club, which is also the major reason he recruits his own grandchildren.

"It's important to keep the old days alive among the younger generations, teaching or showing the kids about how to do things," said Jim's wife, Brenda Wright.

As of right now, there is no successor for Jim's role as president and he will still be an active member.

"It's up to the club members to find a replacement," he said, adding that he volunteered to be president. "I said, 'I'll try it and if you don't like it just tell me to go home,' and it stuck for nine years."

As president, Jim organizes work nights, he coordinates the preparations for the show and tries to find people to volunteer to work during the show.

"I'm not afraid to do everything, I just can't," he joked. "I don't tell people to go do stuff that I wouldn't be willing to do myself and I notice that if you say please and thank you, you get much better service than you do with a crab face."

"The Antique Tractor Club is all about family and friends and it's all work fun," Brenda claims.

According to Jim, there is currently about 55 members on the roster, which tends to fluctuate.

During Field Days, volunteers will give field, sawmill, thrashing and square dancing demonstrations, among other things. There will be a tractor pull as well as a tractor parade around the grounds and a miniature railroad track that they will be giving rides on.

They've moved in and built over a dozen different buildings on the 40 acre grounds since purchasing it, which will be open during the show.

This year, the club celebrates its 25th year and will be featuring the IH Tractors and Equipment and Minnkota.

According to Jim, last year the club hosted around 1,500 attendees and he's expecting that number to increase this year.

The gates open at 7 a.m. on Saturday morning and the show runs until the end of the day on Sunday.

"It's going to be like that guy on TV used to say many years ago, 'a really big show!'" Jim joked.