Labor Day weekend sends plenty of people on the road but Kewanee’s Hog Days has traffic that looks like it’s from a different time.
This year, the Ray Behnke Model T and A Rally is celebrating 50 years of these old Fords taking to be back roads of Henry County.
Ruth Anne Scott said, “No seat belts and here we go.”
Hitting the road in the horseless carriage.
Bill Scott said, “Never knew you could have so much fun driving 45 miles per hour.”
Bill and Ruth Anne Scott’s family has eight old Fords worth of that fun.
Bill said, “My granddaughter drives. Last year would have been the first for her, so the great-granddaughter of Ray Behnke, so it’s the fourth generation of Model T enthusiasts now in this family.”
It’s part of a family legacy on its Golden Jubilee.
Ruth Anne said, “My daddy started this in 1968 and growing up, we always had old cars in our driveway.”
Ray Behnke started the ignition to the journey as every town in Henry County looked to mark 150 years of Illinois statehood, and his idea for a race was one he couldn’t put into reverse, as Model Ts left Kewanee against the clock.
Bill said, “It was a 150-mile endurance run really because these old girls at 150 miles full throttle, it’s kind of a challenge.”
As years gone by, they put the brakes on the race portion because of safety but kept these old motor humming as they now drive for a sightseeing trip.
“These don’t run like a Camaro or a Mustang, it’s quite a difference, but it’s just a fun thing to keep them going and keep the thing alive,” said Bill.
but it’s also to remember the man who made this all possible.
Ruth Anne said, “He was a very ambitious man. Stubborn at times and when he became crippled with MS, he didn’t let it stop.”
Ray passed away from multiple sclerosis in 1994, but generations of the Behnke family and descendants of others who helped to start this tradition and countless volunteers keep it going.
Bill said, “That touring car over there is my daughter’s car, and she made a comment, and she made a comment one day. She said grandpa couldn’t have given me anything I love more. She said if he’d had given me a diamond necklace, it would have meant as much of this.”
So Hog Days every year, it’s part family reunion in the seats of these cars fun-filled ride.
Bill said, “We hit the ooga horns when we see them out there, doing ooga, ooga.”
The rally takes place Sunday, Sept. 2.
It starts from Kewanee’s Midland Plaza Across from the Menard’s at 11:30 a.m.
Anyone with a Model T and Model A is welcome to take part.
The entry form can be found at http://kewaneehogdays.com/pdfs/2018%20Model%20T%20Entry%20Form.pdf
Spectators are also welcomed to watch, and there is a car show at the end of the ride at the Elk’s Club.